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May 18, 2023

Loneliness and the Need for Community

The statistics/text below are from a fitness-business-related newsletter I receive:

According to US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, chronic loneliness is a public health crisis.

  • Lacking social connection is as harmful as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.
  • Loneliness increases the risk of cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, and death.
  • 17% of US adults and 24% of people under 30 are experiencing significant loneliness.

Made worse by the pandemic, habitual isolation has become our default mode.

  • 2013: The average American spent 6.5 hours/week with friends.
  • 2019: That number sank to 4 hours/week, down 37% from five years prior.
  • 2021: Time with friends fell to 2.75 hours/week, declining 58% from 2013.

Time and time again, when our clients are asked about their favorite part of the gym, they cite the other members.

While these numbers rebounded slightly as vaccines rolled out, learned loneliness is lingering — 35% of Americans believe socializing in person is less important post-COVID, and 29% feel anxiety about interacting IRL.

More concerning, in a March Gallup survey, 47% said their lives will never return to pre-pandemic normalcy, meaning we may drift even further apart.

Wow! For many, especially those who now work from home, getting out and finding community is crucial to well-being. The gym can provide the human interaction we need, plus it’s well-documented that exercise is great for mental health.

For many people, thinking of gyms conjures up visions of:

  • It being a “meet market.”
  • People with headphones on not wanting to be talked to.
  • Meatheads using all of the equipment.
  • Waiting to ask if you can “work in” with someone.
  • Being scared to ask someone if you can work in.
  • Wandering around wondering what to do/how to use machines.
  • Not knowing what the sea of equipment is for.
  • Being anonymous.

While some people are consistent on their own and enjoy solitude in the gym, most like to be part of a group, and, from the statistics above, it’s detrimental.

Besides coaching and programming, we offer a fantastic community at Vero Strength. This entails:

  • Interaction with members and coaches
  • The program and equipment are all laid out for you - just show up
  • Encouragement from coaches and other members
  • A two-way conversation  
  • Events
  • Challenges
  • Fun!

So, while you are paying for programming and coaching, you also get an awesome community of people who want to see you succeed and truly care about you.

Each class is like its own ecosystem…you connect, and if you’re not there, people ask about you. If you do well, people celebrate you. There are high fives and even hugs. It’s a beautiful thing.

If you do suffer from anxiety, the first step - walking into a gym - is a big, scary one. But, in reality, you are welcomed with open arms here.

In conclusion, by being a member of Vero Strength you are not only supporting your mental health with exercise, but also with a fabulous community.

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