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It’s such a relief – and so fun! – to be back to live Jazzercise classes, north and south. While Zoom and Livestream certainly got us through the worst of the pandemic, now that we’re double vaccinated, the benefits of working out together in person just can’t be ignored.

Okay. So you probably thought, back in the day when you first started and we said, “bring water and a smile” we were being somewhat facetious about the smile. Nope. That smile, in our Jazzercise group setting, actually adds to the success of your workout by capitalizing on the endorphin rush.

This, according to John Ford, an exercise physiologist on nbcnews.com: “While it’s true that working out releases endorphins (think runner’s high), a group setting can lead to the release of endorphins outside of just physical exertion. One way is through smiling.”

So, there you go, like in that old Nat King Cole song, just “smile though your heart (lungs, arms, legs, core) is aching” – in the best of all possible ways! – right on through the heavies.

Ever heard of the Kohler Effect? It’s the phenomenon, according to britannica.com, that occurs when a person works harder as a member of a group than when working alone. I’ll admit, there’s the me that works out at a certain level in the basement when no one’s watching and then there’s the much more energetic me that works out at the Jazzercise studio under the bright lights with the music bumping and Jazzercise buddies in close – but coronavirus safe - proximity.

Another reason you might push yourself harder with others sweating nearby? “Group settings can lead to a positive competitiveness,” says Ford. “Seeing what others are doing can inspire you to do more.”

And have you ever experienced having your energy dwindling in class, and then feel a boost from the group? Probably one of my favourite things as an instructor about live classes is being able to tap in to the group’s positive energy.

There’s more! According to The Conversation, “Exercising with others can also satisfy some basic psychological needs.” The pandemic has separated us physically for so long and, let’s face it, humans are social beings. Working out together gives us back that connectivity, that sense of community that we’re craving and is so important for our mental health.

As you know, you no longer need to use Sign-up Genius; you can now just show up to class. All that’s required is filling out the Covid-19 questionnaire, a mask for when you’re not working out and proof of double vaccination the first time you come to a live class.

Also, bring your water and a smile, and if you forget the smile, don’t worry, we’re constantly generating more.   by RITA HARTLEY