Why is a big exercise class overwhelming?

Wendy Batts

Exercise classes can be overwhelming at times because they don’t always differentiate between the aerobic fitness levels of beginners and advanced participants. You may feel like giving up five minutes into the class because you just feel too out of shape to continue.

A couple things you can try are to seek out classes that have the beginner in mind and speak with the instructor prior to class for some modifications that you can use to make the intensity more appropriate. There is no shame in leaving a class 20 minutes early because it’s the right thing to do for your ability. The point is to go in and have fun with other exercisers in a social group setting!

In a big exercise class, some people get lost. For example, you walk into an exercise class that you've never taken before but several of the other people have been taking it for years. You don't know what equipment to use. You don't know what the expectations of the class are. You don't know anyone else in the class. No one greets you and many times no one really responds to the fact that you're even there. To become more comfortable in an exercise class, here are a couple of things you can do: observe a class you are interested in, have a conversation with one of the class participants, or talk to the instructor and if you are comfortable, share your fears. In most fitness facilities a participant or the instructor will also take the time to show you what equipment you'll need, how to get set up and what the expectations are. With a little homework you will feel much more confident walking into an exercise class.

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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.