As kids, we could not wait to get together to play with our friends after school, on weekends or during hot summer days. As teens, our world seemed to revolve around our friends and our choice of activities were dictated by the collective. As adults, we still enjoy being active in the company of friends, but may not always feel as if we have the time to do so. Group exercise is a way that provides us with the opportunity to feel vital again while being physically active with others.
Group exercise involves a gathering of individuals in a class-like setting where they perform designed and structured exercise led by an instructor or fitness professional. There are many forms of group exercise – aerobics, dance, core & muscle conditioning, Pilates, step, kickboxing, sculpting, cycling and boot camp, to name a few. Your choice of classes can depend on the location you attend and the amount of time you have.
We’ve been receiving the message loud and clear in recent years, whether from our doctors or the media, about the urgency to exercise and maintain good fitness, but trying to figure out a range of exercises that would provide optimal benefits for your health can be daunting when leading a busy life. When people exercise on their own, they may skip portions of a workout they know little about or are not their favorite to perform. Group exercise offers a workout for all levels, ranging from beginner to advanced, as the instructor designs the workout to appropriate and effective levels to improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness. This typically includes a warm-up session, cool down session, flexibility and conditioning portions. So individuals are not required to have any prior exercise knowledge or experience, know which machines to use or for how long. The fitness instructor serves as a guide to participants, a resource, and a cheerleader, encouraging them in class and to take up other healthy behaviors outside of class.
There are group exercise facilities that are aware of the limited time you may have in your schedule. To support that, they often offer a consistent schedule, some with only 30- to 45-minute classes, to allow you to choose a time that best fits into your daily life, making it easier to commit. If a variety of class formats are offered in your community, feel free to explore them all. An exposure to different instructor styles, music selection, and interaction with other participants may help to keep your motivation and interest high.
A great example of this can be found over at the gated community of Villas at Nocatee, where residents benefit from having access to Nocatee’s Fitness Club (which serves all of Nocatee’s neighborhoods), a 5,000 square-foot facility that provides a wide range of group exercise classes, personal training and even a twice-a-month fitness orientation to teach residents about proper equipment usage. Their group exercise instructor team covers a broad spectrum of exercise – from circuit training to core & cardio, Pilates to Zumba, Yoga to AquaFit – all designed to target strength building, muscular endurance and interval training.
Lastly, group exercise appeals to many people because of its diversity. Group exercise classes originally started out as exercise choreographed to music, hosted inside a fitness facility. While this format still exists, there are many non-traditional classes, some even hosted outdoors – boot camps at the local park, yoga at the beach, bicycling or hiking on trails, etc. Regardless of your preference, what is most important is to move. Group exercise offers a social and fun environment, safe and effectively designed workouts, a consistent exercise schedule and an accountability factor, allowing you to simply show up with a positive attitude and have fun!