Group fitness classes are a great way to establish an exercise routine that’s fun. It can also improve your fitness with regular attendance. Here are some more benefits:
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Many of us have the best of intentions, but when it comes down to it, if we have to initiate exercise, we’ll say “later”. The great thing about group fitness classes is that they’re scheduled. Since you have to go when it’s on, it helps get you going when you otherwise might put it off.
It’s Social (or not)
You can grab a friend and commit to going together, or you can meet new people. It’s always nice to have someone to chuckle with when you’re learning how to do something new, or to just say hi to when you get there. Often the same faces will show up regularly, so you can build a sense of camaraderie with other exercisers. If you’re regular enough, people notice when you miss, which is nice.
Back in the day, it was “aerobics” classes, and not much else. Now, there are so many options it’s hard to keep up with the new offerings that keep popping up. You can go hard core with CrossFit, or keep a nice flow with yoga on the lawn. Like dancing? Try Zumba. How about focusing on strengthening your core? Pilates is great for that. Want to train with weights but want a group to do it with? Lots of facilities offer group weight training.
Goals to Work Toward
Research shows making progress in some way increases self-efficacy (your sense that you can successfully accomplish something), which increases your likelihood of sticking with a routine. With things like running, goals are usually pretty straightforward – distance and speed. With group fitness, what do you work toward?
- Attendance – Setting attendance goals without holding yourself to a performance standard is a great start. Just.Show.Up. It’s a real accomplishment when you are just starting out or are working around a busy schedule!
- Heart Rate – How much effort does it take to reach your target heart rate for
cardiac conditioning, fat burning, or athletic performance? As you progress, you will notice it takes a little more oomph to get you there. From there, shoot for keeping it in that range longer and longer.
- Strength Measures – Many group classes incorporate hand weights or resistance bands in the routine. Watching your progress by increasing the difficulty you can handle is very satisfying! Also, what functional improvements are you noticing? Can you stand up from sitting on the floor more easily? Is carrying groceries easier?
Group exercise can be found in just about every community, and can range from those in private fitness clubs to free of charge through local groups. If you are someone that likes to have a schedule, people to chat with, and prefers regularity in your plan, give group fitness a try!
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