The Mental, Emotional, & Physical Benefits of 3 Workouts You Already Do
One workout keeps you emotionally balanced; another is at work even while you sleep.
We all know physical exercise is good for you. Let’s just get that out of the way. We know that working out will make you both feel and look better—and that fitness classes aren’t just trendy (and expensive), they’re life-improving. But when we’re booking our weekly classes, we want to know, beyond the basic sweat and a smile, how exactly do different workouts benefit us mentally, emotionally, and physically? We’re pretty sure whatever it is we’re getting from candlelit yoga isn’t exactly the same as the benefits from a rap-blasted spin class. So we asked the experts (aka the trainers themselves, who know a thing or two about long-term practice), about what their classes will do for you and your body.
Krissy Jones & Chloe Kernaghan, Sky Ting Yoga
“After a yoga class, the mind is focused and clear. The clutter of thoughts dissipates, and generally you’re settled in a place of calm. Long-term, the practitioner develops the ability to discern helpful versus harmful patterns of the mind and has the tools to break useless mental habits. Over time, your sense of focus and ease becomes easier and lasts longer post-practice.”
“Yoga gives you perspective on the bigger picture and works to balance out your emotions. A lot of the poses we work through target areas of the body that hold a ton of emotional baggage. Using a combination of breath, body, and mind helps to release blockages that give you more room to actually feel your feelings. Long-term, you begin to monitor your reactions, and you have tools to work through what comes up.”
“The body chemistry changes when you do yoga, and there’s a major release of happy hormones—endorphins and dopamine—immediately after practicing. There’s an increase in circulation, your muscles lengthen, and joint space opens up, all of which allows you to walk through life easier. Long-term, the body is more structurally sound as you refine the natural biomechanics.”
Tanya Becker, Physique 57
“Having taught and taken barre classes for over 20 years, I’ve personally experienced and have witnessed many of my clients acquire a multitude of mental benefits. Because our moves are so precise and require a lot of focus, you have to be present and in the moment, which actually gives your mind a break. Immediately following class, because your mind has had time to be still, you feel more relaxed and de-stressed. Long-term effects are greater mental focus and clarity. You’ll be more efficient at work and more pleasant and happy in your personal relationships.”
“Our classes are about camaraderie and having fun. It’s like attending a fabulous party with your best friends. You leave feeling empowered and with an incredible endorphin high! Long-term effects are a greater sense of confidence and feeling like you can conquer whatever life brings your way.”
“Because Physique 57 uses intense intervals of cardio and strength-training exercises, your metabolic rate will be boosted all day after class. You can burn calories even while you’re sleeping!
“There are so many internal and physical long-term benefits from barre, including a sculpted, strong body, sustained energy, and strong core muscles to improve strength and posture. Barre also enhances flexibility to improve range of motion and prevent injuries. Lastly, it leads to an overall improved body alignment and increased bone density, which helps ward off osteoporosis.”
Marvin Foster, SoulCycle
“Spinning classes offer an opportunity for both mental and emotional release. It’s an uninterrupted 45 minutes free from technology, where you can let go and turn your focus inward. It's a total mind-body experience. I like to think of it as an active meditation. We provide space in the brain to recognize where we’re at and where we want to go. If practiced consistently, just as you train a muscle, you can train the brain to get mentally healthier and stronger over time.”
“The indoor-cycling experience allows for a build and release of emotional energy. There’s a genuine moment shared in the room—with everyone working together and moving in unison, it has the ability to transform. You can walk into class feeling sad or weighed down and leave the room feeling lighter, lifted, and ready to face the world. I strongly encourage our riders to seek and welcome that vulnerability in class and in their daily routine. Over time we learn to channel our emotions into positive motivators.”
“SoulCycle is a full-body workout that simultaneously involves high-intensity cardio training, core-engaging choreography, and toning for both large and small muscle groups. Our custom-designed bike forces riders to engage the core throughout the entire ride and activates the underused posterior muscles to strengthen and tone the entire body. During class, riders work with speed and resistance to push their aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels and burn fat. Since SoulCycle classes are rhythm-based, riders are also trained in coordination and timing, consequently improving their cognition, focus, and reflexes. As a low-impact activity, it’s also a great way to get cardio without being too hard on your joints.”