Fitness Class Benefits
Attending a fitness class is far more than just fun.
Attending a variety of fitness classes is an effective way to boost your overall fitness level by engaging in a number of exercises most of us do not attempt when working out alone.
Best of all, group fitness classes offer a unique form of motivation in the form of peer workouts.
Numerous recent studies have shined light on the benefits of group exercise including the notion that women who workout in a group have higher exercise endurance levels and are less likely to suffer from a variety of depression types including postpartum depression.
Is There Strength In Numbers? Learn more about how group fitness classes are helping women overcome postpartum depression.
The Perfect Fitness Class Instructor
When deciding whether to attend a particular fitness class look to see if the instructor possesses the following traits:
- She inspires you
- She challenges you
- She motivates you with her words and appearance
- She recognizes and welcomes new attendees
- She has proper fitness certification
- She has proper health and safety certifications such as CPR
- She includes a warm-up and cool-down routine
- She gives clear instructions on various techniques
- She gives clear exercise modification instructions
- You always know what is coming next
- She includes a pulse check or intensity check throughout the class
- She does not speak fitness jargon at you
- She makes the class fun
- She does not spend the entire class looking at herself in the mirror
Fitness Class Etiquette
When attending a fitness class you need to follow a simple set of fitness etiquette rules designed to make the experience safe and enjoyable for you and your classmates.
This short list of fitness etiquette applies to any given fitness class:
- Honor the class sign-up system if there is one
- Arrive to class on time
- Wear proper fitness attire
- If you must leave class early, or walk in late, do so without disrupting the class
- Respect your classmates’ personal space
- Share any and all fitness equipment used in the class
- Please Do Not text your friends, check your email or update your Facebook status in class
Add your gym etiquette pet peeves to our list of The Unwritten Rules of Gym Etiquette
Popular Fitness Classes
The following popular fitness classes are offered at most gyms throughout the United States.
Zumba fitness classes are delightfully effective at both boosting your spirit as well as whipping your body into shape. This upbeat cardio fitness class is also a fun way to add variety to your cardio workouts and lose weight, fast.
Zumba, a Latin dance-based fitness program, which got its start in Columbia in the early 1990’s, is the ideal low-impact aerobic fitness class for people of all fitness levels because its dance moves are fairly basic and easy to follow.
Spinning classes are high-intensity aerobic classes conducted using stationary exercise bicycles.
Spinning classes are the perfect exercise class for those looking for a high intensity leg workout during the winter months, or other times of the year, when riding an actual bike is not an option.
The biggest draw-back of spinning classes is that they do not always include upper body exercises.
What we have come to know as “Yoga” is a generic term for a series of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines which originated in ancient India.
Most basic Yoga classes start with a series of poses (Asana) and end with a series of relaxation techniques. The goal of these basic Yoga classes, offered at gyms throughout the United States, is to improve your overall strength and flexibility while helping to reduce your daily stress levels.
Learn more about the 6 Types of Yoga
Pilates consists of a series of exercises designed to develop core strength, flexibility and coordination. These exercises are often conducted using a number of specially-manufactured fitness equipment. Pilates classes can be conducted on a one-on-one basis or as a group fitness class.
The main reason behind Pilates’ popularity is its ability to rebuild core strength, after pregnancy, and hence help flatten the abdominal area.
A step aerobics fitness class is a cardio fitness class that uses an elevated platform (step) to carry out its choreographed fitness routine. Step aerobics is a great way to tone your lower body and shed unwanted pounds.
The biggest draw-back of a step aerobics fitness class is that participation requires a great deal of coordination without which you risk certain common fitness injuries such as sprained ankles.
Water aerobics is one of the most effective, and most overlooked, low-impact fitness classes offered at gyms throughout the United States.
A common misconception regarding water aerobics classes is that these aerobic fitness classes only benefit pregnant women, the obese, the elderly or injured athletes. But, nothing is further from the truth. Because of the resistance water provides water aerobics classes have the potential to benefit everyone.
Specialty Fitness Classes
Boot Camp Classes
Boot camp fitness classes are designed to be intense!
This fitness class is meant to build total body strength through a variety of high intensity interval training exercises that last for at least one hour. In a typical boot camp fitness class you can expect to:
- Start with a total body stretch
- Run to warm-up
- Do leg exercises such as lunges
- Lift weights
- Do core exercises such as sit ups
- Do upper body exercises such as pushups
- Do agility exercises
- Engage in “explosive” routines designed to elevate your heart rate, fast
- Engage in Plyometrics training designed to increase both speed and power
- Most boot camp fitness classes end with a Yoga-style stretching routine
If you enjoy your boot camp fitness class you will LOVE cross training.
Cross training, also known as circuit training, is similar to Boot camp fitness in the sense that it, too, is designed to push your body to its maximum capacity.
The main difference between a boot camp fitness class and a cross training session is that cross training places a greater emphasis on improving overall athletes performance. In other words, cross training is a mode of training designed to improve a specific component of fitness within an athlete. For example, a runner who attends Pilates classes in order to improve her core strength is engaging in cross training.
You can cross train alone, with the help of a personal trainer or attend a cross training gym.
Specialty Yoga classes are best soothed to meet the needs of advanced Yoga practitioners. These Yoga classes are often offered at specialty Yoga centers by highly trained instructors and focus more heavily on the spiritual components of Yoga than mainstream Yoga classes.
photo courtesy of: Official U.S. Navy Imagery