Be selective. Read a description of the classes offered and pick one that matches your fitness level.
The class format should include a warm-up, cardiovascular portion (unless it is strictly a toning class), and a cool-down, followed by stretching.
Beginner classes are recommended for those who have never participated in group exercise before.
The instructor will give you information on proper foot placement and correct body alignment throughout the class.
Don?t overdo it. If you are new to a class, start by doing 15 to 30 minutes and gradually increase from there. Taking an entire class the first time may make you very sore the next day.
Be sure to drink a lot of water before, during and after the class.
Glossary of Terms
Step classes ? Incorporate a low bench of some type. You will step up and down on the bench while performing various routines and patterns. Adding or taking away risers that fit underneath the benches changes intensity. Classes can range from beginner to very advanced.
High/Low classes ? Traditional floor aerobics. The moves are done in the studio with no equipment. Various steps are combined with arm movements to create a workout. Beginner to advanced classes are generally offered.
Boxing classes ? Floor aerobic moves combined with boxing moves. The feet move for most of the class along with the upper body, which does various punches. It?s a great total-body workout that may have extra appeal for men.
Slide classes ? Use a mat and special booties that slip over sneakers, which allow you to slide back and forth across the mat. This workout is great for toning the lower body.
Interval classes ? These classes combine either step or floor aerobics with weight training. The class changes from a cardiovascular portion to a weight portion every three to four minutes.
Toning/sculpting classes ? These classes provide a focus on one or more specific body parts. Various exercises are given to work these body parts, and abdominal work is generally included.
High impact ? Both feet come off the floor at the same time to do movements such as jumping, running and hopping. This is not a recommended activity for people with any joint problems in the lower extremities.
Low impact ? One foot is always on the floor. Perfect for someone who is just beginning or who has joint problems.
Group cycling ? Commonly known by the trademarked name Spinning, this activity involves the participants riding stationary exercise bikes led by an instructor. A mind/body connection is usually emphasized. Very popular in health clubs.