Group Exercise

The Advantages of Group Exercise Classes

Group exercise classes are more than the loud music, fast movements and shouts of encouragement that are seen and heard in a fitness room. These one-hour blocks of time offer social inclusion opportunities, health benefits and psychological support. From kickboxing and step aerobics to boot camps and indoor cycling, your fitness instructor will challenge and improve your body.

Attending a group fitness class gets you up off the couch and out of the same four walls of your home to meet people in your community. You are likely to have more fun exercising in a group than working out on your own. Fitness classes are a wonderful place to meet people who have similar lifestyle goals and needs.

Motivation Boost

Participating in a group exercise class challenges you to work out beyond your perceived limitations. The instructor observes your body for signs of fatigue and pushes you to your limits. You are likely to work out harder, as everyone is exercising toward the same goal, than you would on your own. A group fitness instructor explains the benefits of each exercise, which increases your reasons to complete the workout and keeps you returning to class.

Health and Form Benefits

Group exercise class are available in a variety of workout styles. If your goals are cardiovascular improvement and weight loss, select aerobic-based classes such as dance aerobics, indoor cycling, kickboxing or step aerobics. Select weight training, calisthenics or boot camp classes if you also want to improve your muscular endurance and strength. If flexibility is your goal, a stretching or yoga class is a nice option.

Additionally, certain forms of exercises, such as spin, yoga and strength-training, benefit from using proper form. As a newbie, you might not know the proper form to use, which increases your risk of injury. In a class, though, the instructor will spot-check you, correcting your positioning if necessary.

Accountability Support

A group exercise setting helps keep you accountable to attend the class. When the instructor and other participants ask why you were absent, they generally are concerned for your well-being, and you will not want to have an "I sat on the couch" answer. If you are required to prepay for a group class, your accountability also increases. You have a limited number of classes that you paid for and are more likely to attend.

Group exercise classes come in all types and intensities, so an hour of Pilates will definitively not burn the same as one hour of step aerobics. Also, the more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn doing the same activity. For example, a 155-pound person will burn 422 calories in an hour of aerobics, while a 130-pound person will burn 354 calories. Several other factors come into play.

Low-Intensity Classes

Low-intensity classes feature steady activity. They usually don’t have bursts of intense activity and aim to maintain the same heart rate throughout the class. Low-intensity classes usually have less effect on joints and bones. They’re a good choice for people with health problems that need to take it easy. Low-impact aerobics burns an average of 352 calories per hour, while a dancing class can burn up to 422 calories.

High-Intensity Classes

High-impact aerobics can burn up to 500 calories an hour. And indoor cycling can burn up to 500 calories in 45 minutes. In high-intensity classes, the number of calories can vary greatly depending on how much effort you put into the workout. For example, you can burn anywhere from 211 and 739 calories an hour using a stationary bike, depending on the intensity of the workout. Kickboxing is another high burner, with 350 to 450 calories burned during a standard 55-minute class.

Non-Aerobic Classes

Yoga, Pilates and strength-training classes might not be your idea of high-calorie burning choices, but depending on the intensity used, they can burn lots of calories. Thirty minutes of Pilates will burn about 140 calories. The calorie burn comes primarily from the repetition of moves, which increases muscle burn and strength intensity, even though the cardio workout doesn’t feel as intense. Depending on what type of yoga you choose, you can also burn lots of calories. Thirty minutes of power yoga will burn up to 300 calories.

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