Group fitness helps combat depression

Karen Lopez
News Staff Writer
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After a good fitness class, Tia Patterson, a junior undergraduate at UNCA, said she drips in sweat but feels adrenaline and calmness at the same time. She gets a good night sleep and wakes up feeling refreshed.
“I like our UNCA fitness instructors because they care about us as students,” 19-year-old Patterson said. “They motivate us and want us to have self-love.”
Aleen Dailey, the associate director of campus recreation for UNC Asheville’s campus, said group fitness is beneficial to the human body.
Exercising in a group setting lowers the risk of cardiac arrest and bad cholesterol, improves self-esteem, helps burn calories and benefits the cardiovascular system and blood pressure.
Dailey said the group fitness atmosphere and social aspects are positive for all individuals who wish to attend and participate in classes.
“You are in a group of like-minded individuals working toward the same goal, such as burning calories or simply having fun,” 31-year-old Dailey said.
Salvador Chavez, a Zumba fitness instructor, said group fitness helps him and his students with self-confidence and personal health.

Salvador Chavez instructs and motivates his students during Zumba class. Photo by Karen Lopez.
Salvador Chavez instructs and motivates his students during Zumba class. Photo by Karen Lopez.

“Many students have told me that Zumba as a group fitness has helped them with their depression,” Chavez said. “As an instructor, I feel in good condition and health, seeing my students motivated gets me motivated.”
The 23-year-old instructor said Zumba and other group fitness classes are like a “fitness family,” unlike the gym where the individual might feel lonely because it is just them and the machine.
“You don’t have to think about what you are doing because you are being instructed and being motivated,” Dailey said. “You learn many things.”
Instructors complete a training process focusing on motivation and many of the group fitness instructors at UNCA have been trained by Dailey.
“Students and instructors are very welcoming, even the ones that were not trained by me,” Dailey said.
Dailey, who wasn’t active in college, didn’t like working out and didn’t like going to the gym.
“One day I decided to go with a friend and try out a group fitness class,” she said. “I tried my first yoga class and liked it. I started going to other classes such as Zumba and I realized that I actually liked working out.”
If it hadn’t been for her first fitness class, Dailey would have never switched majors. She started out as an undergraduate archaeology student, but ended up with a masters degree in exercise science.
“Going to the gym, you have to figure things out and sequence on your own,” she said. “Group fitness instructors will tell you what to do, how you are doing it and whether or not you are doing it correctly”.
Anzy Musewicz, an undergraduate freshmen, said she feels different and better about herself after fitness classes. She said group fitness is fun and it has helped boost her self-confidence.
“I get out there and meet more people. Seeing others around me doing the same thing as me is empowering,” 18-year-old Musewicz said.