Why should I try group exercise?

When was the last time you described your workout as fun? No seriously – do you look forward to lacing up your shoes and heading to the gym?

For many of us, our exercise routine is a combination of what we think we should do, and what we know how to do. Enjoyment of the activity is often secondary. Many of us get stuck in a rut and do the same thing each time we work out, which often leads to boredom, lack of motivation, and inconsistency. For fitness to become a routine part of our life, it’s important to find activities that bring us enjoyment, as well as that much needed boost to our heart rate.

Group fitness classes are a great way to try new things, learn from experts, and have some fun. So what is group fitness? They are fitness classes taught in a group setting and led by an instructor. They encompass a wide variety of styles and formats from dance-based to strength-based, yoga to cycling, and everything in between.

We checked back in with Dee Fairfield, Senior Healthy Living Director at the Northeast Family YMCA about why she thinks group fitness is great for people in all stages of their fitness journey. Here are her top reasons to try a class the next time you work out:

  1. Motivation

Like-minded people inspire dedication and create a culture of motivation! Group fitness is an awesome way to motivate yourself, and others, to give your best effort in your workout. An encouraging instructor + supportive people = SUCCESS at meeting your goals!

  1. Structure

Ever wonder what you’re going to do in the gym today? Tired of searching for workouts on YouTube? Group fitness is the perfect way to get a great workout without having to plan. Let the YMCA’s certified instructors guide you through a warm-up, a balanced workout, and a cool down.

  1. Proper Form

All of our instructors go through training and yearly evaluations to ensure they are demonstrating and teaching proper form. This helps you (and them) get the most out of every exercise and avoid potential injuries.

  1. Variety

Cardio classes, boot camps, cycling, yoga, strength training—our list of classes is long and varied! Having a variety of classes in your weekly workout regimen is a great way to keep your body guessing and ramps up your metabolism.  It also helps prevent boredom and fosters friendship among participants!

  1. Accountability

Ever skip your regular class and when you return others ask where you were? Group Fitness helps to keep you accountable – we notice when you aren’t in class. Hold yourself even more accountable by inviting a friend!

  1. Fun

Hands down – they’re fun! Between the upbeat music, a great workout and a group of people motivating each other along the way, it’s a great way to spend your gym time!

Taking your first class

While equipment varies with each type class, there are a few basic tips to help you prepare for your first class:

  • Bring a water bottle – it’s important to stay hydrated, no matter what class you take.
  • Come to class a few minutes early to get familiar with the equipment and how to get set-up before you begin.
  • Talk to the instructor before class about questions or concerns. It’s also good to let them know if you have an injury or limitations. Classes are adaptive to nearly all fitness levels and instructors can help with alternative movements to ensure your safety and success!
  • Talk to other members. This may give insight into what to you can expect. Much of the fun in group fitness classes comes from building camaraderie and making friends.

Don’t forget about the pool

Typically, when we think of a group exercise class we think of land-based classes, like Zumba or boot camp, but workouts in the water can be equally intense while reducing impact on the body. They are great for increasing cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility, as well as providing a safe and effective workout for those recovering from an injury or dealing with chronic mobility concerns.

Each week, the YMCA of Greater Louisville offers hundreds of classes in our exercise rooms and in our pools, all free with a Y membership. Our instructors are certified, knowledgeable, and always look forward to welcoming new people into their classes.

Stop by your neighborhood YMCA to learn more or visit us online at YMCALouisville.org.