All the rage in the world of fitness and wellness lately has been group fitness classes. At first, this new trend can seem overwhelming. You might feel uncomfortable about people watching you work out, or maybe you feel like you won’t be “fit enough” to keep up during class. These are totally normal concerns, but I’m here to tell you that you can’t let your fears stop you from working toward a healthier you! Here are some benefits of attending a group fitness class, and tips to get you there.
The number one benefit for me when it comes to group fitness classes is how great it is to try different ways to exercise! There are dozens of classes that incorporate all parts of the body. Taking group fitness classes allows you to discover new ways to get moving. Some classes focus heavily on different ways to keep your heart rate up. HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a great example of this. For many people, HIIT is more entertaining than just running.
A common concern is that the intensity of the workout might be too difficult. It always helps me to remember that my focus is to move my body and appreciate it for what it can do. Most of the time, instructors offer varying levels of different exercises, so that all body types and different abilities can go at their own pace. Chris Anderaos, fitness instructor at UMKC Campus Rec, says, “There is no need to force anything; you get better doing the things you want on the level you want, while trying to reach the goal you want.” In the end, your workout is for you.
Group fitness classes are especially unique because they provide socialization. You are working toward better health with other people to keep you accountable and motivated. It’s important to have a certified professional helping you do the exercises correctly — this also holds you accountable to work toward the changes you want to see and feel, and helps prevent you from injury. Anderoas says, “You are socially engaged, part of a group and you can respect and understand everyone else’s level as well as your own. The social, physical and mental benefits combined help you work towards a better self.” This sense of community and the chance to make new, healthy friends, brings people back again and again to their group fitness classes. This is phenomenal for mental health — the open dialogue about your body helps you become more comfortable in your own skin, plus it’s good for you to work toward a goal.
Some extra tips: invite a friend along! Invest in a cute pair of leggings. Plan ahead so you feel motivated and can’t find a last minute excuse. Ask to talk to the instructor beforehand if you have any particular concerns or questions. They are there to help you, so they will be happy to make sure you feel comfortable.