Year on year the popularity and attendance of group exercise classes keeps on growing. Ranging from 30 minute fast classes through to hour long training sessions, this format of training can offer both physiological and psychological benefits as well as the social inclusion of attending a group exercise environment.
Putting the personal into group exercise
Exercising in a group environment can not only be challenging but a lot more fun than just working out on your own. You may also find that the people in the classes have similar goals and likes so it is a great social environment and a chance to meet new, like minded people. Working out in an environment where everyone else is exercising towards the same goal and having the encouragement of an instructor to guide you through the class can greatly improve your motivation.
Group exercise training can cater to a variety of fitness goals, if you are looking to lose weight then aerobic type classes such as body conditioning, pump fx, circuit training, T3 HIIT and indoor cycling are for you. Flexibility goals can be achieved in classes such as yoga and Pilates and if you're just looking for general fitness then you can try a varied combination of the many classes that will be on offer at any local health club/gym.
For most it is thought a common reason to quit a gym or exercise program is boredom or lack of understanding of what to do to start seeing actual results. Classes can offer this structure, support and motivation system that attending the gym alone cannot. Furthermore, group exercise is formatted in a way that means a class should cater to all, there should be relevant adaptations and progressions offered by instructors which allow classes to act as a stepping stone into exercise for some, whilst a week in week out physical training session for others.
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Group exercise instructors can offer participants a safe and effective, well-structured workout including all the components of fitness, from flexibility through to cardiovascular and muscular strength and/or endurance. Often when working out alone participants will miss out important components of a session, such as post workout stretching, this could be due to time constraints or just not having a correctly structured plan.
There are several plus points to group exercise, mainly its diversity. From outdoor training boot camps to salsa dancing at the local community centre. The face of group exercise has changed in recent years, making it more accessible to those who do not necessarily own a gym membership. If we can keep people moving and more active doing something that's fun and enjoyable, surely it can only be a good thing.
Interview with Exercise to Music Instructor Olivia Birchenough
How to become a Fitness Instructor
How to deliver a great group exercise class