What is it?
Group exercise classes, e.g., aerobics, offer a complete, structured workout for beginning exercisers, as well as a wide variety of challenges for more advanced exercisers. Using music and choreography, an aerobics instructor leads and motivates a group of participants through an entire session, which typically lasts 45 minutes to an hour.
For those individuals who need a little extra motivation or who prefer to work out with others, group exercise classes are a perfect option. Having an instructor lead you through the class can be very motivational and help you keep going when you may otherwise give up. Many students look forward to seeing the friends they have made in class, which further increases motivation.
Another advantage is variety. Individual classes are designed to appeal to different types of people with different goals and interests. Several types of classes focus on cardiovascular benefits: step, high/low, boxing, slide and interval training. Other classes are geared toward toning muscles — sculpting classes that target one area of the body or general body-toning classes that cover all the major muscle groups.
Finally, in a group exercise class taught by an experienced instructor you have the reassurance that you are getting a sound workout. The instructor can teach you proper technique and answer questions you may have about exercise.
Conforming to the class schedule can sometimes be a problem. Work or family demands can make it difficult to attend classes at a certain time, and the particular class you wish to take may only be offered at one specific time. Some people may find classes too intense, the choreography too difficult, or become frustrated trying to learn new moves.
If you have problems with your knees, aerobics may put too much stress on the joints, possibly causing you pain and injury.
Where to Participate
Aerobics programs are offered in many locations including fitness centers, YMCAs, schools, churches and corporations. It?s a good idea to talk to an instructor to see which classes would benefit you the most, based on your specific goals, interests and health concerns. Make sure the flooring is either wood or covered with a densely woven carpet ? harder surfaces can place undue stress on the body.
Recommended Equipment, Attire
Shoes — Choose a good pair of aerobics shoes specifically designed for the type of classes you will attend the most. Make sure they are well-cushioned and properly fitted. If you have any ankle problems, select shoes with a mid to high top so that they provide support on either side of the ankle.
Dress in cool comfortable clothing, preferably cotton or some type of material that pulls moisture away from the body.
Equipment — Generally provided by the instructor, and equipment may include dumbbells, aerobics steps, surgical tubing, body balls and mats.