What type of group exercise class is best for me?

Choosing the right group exercise class is a very individual process. The right choice depends on what type of activity you like to do. Group exercise classes range from Pilates and yoga to kickboxing, weight training, and step aerobics. The good thing is that group exercise is formatted so each class is targeted for a specific type of movement and intensity level. If you are unsure about a particular class format, get to class a few minutes early so you can talk to the instructor.

Shayne Adair
Finding the right group exercise class take a little time, but the payoff is a standing workout appointment that you are excited about.  When choosing a class think about what your interests are.  Do you like to dance or choreography?  Then Hi/lo, Zumba or step may be good choices for you.  Do you like athletic moves and drills, try a boot camp or circuit class.  Are you interested in strength training, how about a group strength class like Total Body Conditioning or Body Pump?  Would you like a quieter more introspective workout, yoga or pilates may work well for you.  If the first class you try doesn't capture your interest, try another one.  Somewhere is the perfect class for you.
Mirabai Holland

What type of Exercise class is right for me?
If you like interaction, being social and having fun working out, finding the right group exercise class can help you get and stay fit for a lifetime.

Here are some guidelines to help you find the right group exercise class for you:
Observe the class before you take it. This is a good idea because you will be able to gage the fitness level of the participants, size of class, and the teaching ability of instructor.
Choose a class according to your fitness level. If you are a beginner just starting out, probably that fast paced boot camp class will push you over the edge and you'll stop before you get a chance to get fit.   
Try something that helps you ease-in like a light low impact aerobics, aquacise, a beginner body sculpt class that uses lightweights and bands.
You can even start with no weights and work on performing the exercises correctly.
If you are more advanced, that boot camp class may be exactly what you need.
FUN FUN FUN: Besides getting results, find a class that really makes you want to come back tomorrow. It doesn't matter what kind of class you start with but eventually you want to increase cardio, strength and flexibility (the 3 major components of fitness) so that may mean taking a few different types of classes.

Exercise classes can be a fun way to exercise, relieve stress, and meet friends. But sometimes they can be intimidating. The following tips can help you choose an exercise class that is right for you.
  • If you are trying to lose weight: Try any class that raises your heart rate and helps you burn the most calories. Yoga, for example, may not be as effective at this as an aerobics class or a spinning class.
  • If you have joint paint or just do not like feeling sweaty: Try forming a walking group or taking a water aerobics or yoga class.
  • If you lack confidence with coordinated exercise classes: Try yoga or Pilates, or stick to a walking group or a spinning/cycling class.
  • If you are stressed out: Just get moving! Try kickboxing to relieve stress, or try the high-energy dancing of Zumba.
  • If you are worried you cannot keep up with other participants in the class: Try an introductory class, and follow your instructor’s advice on ways to modify the activity to your level if needed. Remember that you only have to work to a level that you feel comfortable with.
Wendy Batts
Group exercise classes can be fun and extremely challenging depending on the class that you choose.  Your goals, fitness level and interests should help influence which classes you try.  For example, if you had a stressful day at work and were seated for most of the day, consider taking a Yoga or Pilates class.  These classes would to help loosen you up, activate your core muscles and help you relax after your long day.  If you are a person that is full of energy, loves to be pushed and needs some one to really motivate you, try looking into classes such as spin, Zumba, cardio kickboxing or any type of high-energy aerobics.  Everyone is different so if you are not sure which one to take, try them all! Who knows, you may find you like a few different styles and you will find each has their own unique benefits.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.