In keeping with the theme of the dimensions of wellness, this month we highlight a favorite of this writer and the staff at Century – Social Wellness. By definition it “encourages contributing to one’s human and physical environment to the common welfare of one’s community. Social Wellness emphasizes the interdependence with others… Social wellness is having positive interactions with and enjoying being with others. It is having comfort and ease during work and leisure situations and communicating feelings and needs to others. It involves… practicing empathy and effective listening, caring for others and for the common good, and allowing others to care for you. It is recognizing the need for leisure and recreation and budgeting time for those activities.” (source: www.definitionofwellness.com)
As a member of your club you are immersed in Social Wellness at Century Fitness simply by being with other members. You are exposed to one the best crews of Member Service and professional Fitness Staff (sorry – we bragged). That may sound like hyperbole, but many of the staff here have worked at several other fitness facilities and been a member at even more, so, from personal experience that is probably a true statement. Let’s look at some of the ways that having a healthy community can benefit you.
Initially, getting motivated to workout can be hard when you’re new. You may have some idea to get in better shape but that’s not all the fuel you need to wake up early or get in a workout after a long day. Many people can benefit from a workout partner or meeting up in a group class to really be held accountable. Once that routine is established for a few weeks, bam, you have developed a good habit and all it took was some new friendships and acquaintances.
Goal setting can also be a challenge when you first start or when you find yourself in a slump. We often hear from members who bond over a challenging class, or “take it to new heights” in a small group training program, while sweating and catching their breath at the desk. These members probably weren’t that close until they became participants, and as a bonus they’re getting fit together. There are many of options to improve your Social Wellness such as our great aquarobics classes or enjoying a light conversation in the sauna or shake bar. We have seen these micro groups blossom into all kinds of great things; running groups, charity event volunteers, community fitness advocate groups and so on.
Community wellbeing is especially important to our older populations. It’s no secret that as we reach our golden years it is harder to hold onto a sense of community. Kids grow up and leave empty nesters with less family time and more alone time. As a physical therapist it is delightful to see our over 50 crowd in here doing their thing. Working out not only staves off the effects of time on the body but it also gives back a sense of belonging and community. Studies show that sustained relationships keep our minds sharp and keep us from becoming depressed as we age.
Lastly, and this is a little more personal as the main contributor to this article, admittedly I like to work out and not say too much to others, but I do have my eye out for things. I can’t tell you the number of times my heart melted for an act of kindness. Here are some favorites:
- A member pulled out their umbrella and walked a golden-aged member out to her car in the pouring rain.
- Members cheering on each other for the outdoor obstacle course challenge during our Raise the Woof for Warriors charity event for Veterans needing service dogs… (our members are always very generous for any charity event we host!)
- A member helping another to jump start their car in subfreezing weather.
- A brief yet exciting interaction of shadow boxing with our own “Boxing Bobby P”.
- Aquarobics group going out on the town all dressed up and fancy.
- Members stepping up to help another with a disability without hesitation.
- Those who are regular participants in group exercise classes welcoming brand new members and giving them encouragement.
The longer you are here the more goodness you see in people and that is an important break for our hearts from the daily grind. That’s the good of Social Wellness, that’s our community and our club!
So, take your headphones off and strike up a nice conversation. It’s good for your health!
Josh Kudo DPT, PT
(Supplemented by your Member Service and Fitness Staff)