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How can group exercise classes benefit me?

Joining a group exercise class is a great way to meet new people and increase motivation. Many people assume that you have to be in great shape to try a class, but group sessions are available for all fitness levels whether you choose a relaxing yoga session or a challenging spinning class. 
 A group environment can provide a sense of belonging, social support and accountability which is beneficial in promoting exercise. However, some group environments are a source of social comparison which make some people uncomfortable. Find the right group for you by testing out a few and determining how you felt within each group.  Did you feel confident?  Or were you less inclined to work hard because you felt self-conscious?  If you feel good in a group and find yourself wanting to participate more - that is more than likely the group for you!



Group exercise is a fun way to work out and can benefit you in several ways. First, it creates a social setting that provides an environment of camaraderie and support. You can bring a friend to a class or make new friends that share similar fitness goals. Next, group exercise provides structure. Most classes are planned out ahead of time and the instructor will guide you on the movements. Also, group exercise classes offer an opportunity for technique improvement Many instructors walk around the class to make sure you are performing movements correctly. In addition, knowing that an activity is held on a weekly basis can help you set up a routine that is easy to follow and stick with.

Picture of rebounding exercise

Group exercise classes can be of benefit in a number of ways.  Group exercise classes can be fun and when you have fun you are more likely to stick with an exercise program.  Group exercise classes can also be a great place to get support.   You may find that a group fitness program puts you in contact with people at the same fitness level as you, with similar fitness goals.  A group fitness class may also help you stay accountable to your exercise program.  Once you start working out with a group of people you may develop relationships that keep you coming back so as not to let the group down.  Group exercise classes are also a great way to get exposure to new kinds of exercises. 

There are so many benefits to group exercise.  Really one of the major benefits is the group motivation you get to going to a class rather than doing something on your own.  Having people next to you going through the same thing and helping you along the way is great.  The variety of group classes also help make it easier and not so boring.  Also classes can hold you accountable to as they are only held at certain times of the week.  So you are more motivated to go or you will miss it.  Between the support, variety, fun and entertainment of group classes you can't go wrong.
Sue Hitzmann
Fitness
What's great about doing group classes is that you don't have to think at all. You can just listen and follow whatever the teacher is instructing you to do. One point of caution with classes that involve resistance training: Some people have no business lifting weights, thus do it poorly and get injured. Just because you lift weights doesn't mean you can't get hurt or cause pain. Be mindful of the quantity of weight you lift and the exercises you are going to be asked to perform. For example, I know I can lift 8 to10 pound weights for reps but if I'm taking a class that is going to do multiple sets of high reps, I'll grab 3 to 5 pound weights and focus on my form for weeks before trying heavier weights. Ease in and you will gain far greater benefits and reduce your risk of injury. 

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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.