Most people think of group exercise as something you do in a gym. Those old-fashioned step classes; or humans, sweaty and gross, huffing away on Spin bikes. But anywhere that people come together to exercise is a group fitness class. From a bootcamp in a local park to yoga, tai chi, dance, even a bowling league.
Some people choose group exercise as their only way to stay fit. I say more power to them, but a lot of us stride alone on local streets or puff away utterly bored on the treadmill or elliptical. Adding a group exercise class into your usual weekly routine is a good way to mix things up and has other benefits as well.
Encouragement. A group ex class is led by a fitness professional who can gauge your fitness level and push you to go a little further than you might do on your own.
Camaraderie. What better way to find a group of like-minded souls? I’ve seen whole Zumba classes bond and a great community form. People become friends outside of group ex. classes and building community is one of the best ways to stay healthy.
Variety. Going to a group ex. class inherently builds variety into your fitness program. Even if you go to the same class over and over again you’re not going to do the same exercises ad nauseam. The instructors know to keep it fresh by changing choreography and emphasizing different muscle groups.
As I said earlier you can find group ex. classes anywhere, not just at a gym. Here are a few to consider …
- Group golf-conditioning classes
- Tennis (or squash) lessons (you have to hit it to somebody, right?)
- Stroller Mom classes in a nearby park
- Dance classes
- Soccer, softball and basketball leagues
- Family hikes
- Running clubs
You get the idea. Open up your mind a little and you’ll see oodles of possibilities.
I’m not saying drop your current fitness routine entirely and only work out in a pack. If you prefer solo workouts then go for it, but consider adding one or two sessions a week where you’re in a group. You’ll be glad you did.
What do you do for group exercise now? Would you recommend it to others? Did you have to force yourself from being a solo exerciser into a group situation? Looking forward to starting a conversation.