Sometimes training with friends or a group of strangers is the best motivation to keep you moving. There are so many group fitness classes out there, it can be quite difficult to choose one that’s best for you.
There are classes for stretching, cycling, boxing, dancing and the list goes on. Each one has its own unique spin on fitness exercises and goals.
The most basic way to find out which one you like the most is to simply try them. Here are a few popular classes; their benefits and downsides.
Probably the most basic of all group exercise fitness classes, any boot camp or circuit training class involves doing multiple exercises in a set.
Circuit training is by definition a series of exercises done one after the other, so there can be any number of combinations of exercises and workouts associated with boot camp and circuit training classes. They can often be medium to high intensity, so remember to bring a water bottle and go at your own pace.
If you cannot handle certain exercises, ask the instructor who can give you a modified version. The great thing about boot camp is that it can be done anywhere.
Well being concept. Young woman doing yoga at home. Triangle pose. Image Istock
A cornerstone of fitness, yoga is a meditative form of exercise that involves a variety of poses that are meant to alleviate thought and enhance flexibility.
Yoga should be part of everyone’s exercise routine, no matter what level athlete (or non-athlete) you are. Flexibility is required to do exercises effectively, and if you do not have the flexibility to perform a deadlift or a squat, you won’t get the results you want as quickly or effectively.
Yoga helps your range of motion in every aspect of exercise, and that ensures whatever exercise you do fully develops the entire muscle you are working on.
Yoga can be quite uncomfortable in the beginning, but dedicate yourself to it for at least one month, and you will truly start to feel the benefits, both physically and mentally.
Fitness machine at home woman biking on indoor stationary bike exercise indoors for cardio workout. Image Istock
This can be one of the most high-intensity group exercise classes, depending on the instructor. As with all classes, you can go at your own pace, but if you really want to keep up, you will be drenched in sweat by the end.
I highly recommend spinning class for anyone looking for a difficult workout, but especially for people with knee or leg pain. It is a low-impact workout, meaning there isn’t a lot of force put on your joints.
You are able to workout for extended periods without aggravating previous injuries.
If you absolutely hate working out, but you’re social and like to have fun, Zumba may be a great fit for you. It incorporates dancing and provides a fun and energetic atmosphere where for an hour, you can dance and jiggle your worries (and calories) away. Of course, it’s not all easy.
Zumba is a class where you are constantly moving, but instructors always do their best to make sure you are having a good time while providing benefits to your body.
One of the fastest growing “classes” out there, CrossFit has been quickly gaining a huge following of those devoted to fitness. It incorporates Olympic lifting, functional exercises, high intensity interval training, jumping rope, box jumps, sleds, etc.
CrossFit is done in smaller-timed intervals, but they are extremely high intensity. I’d recommend it for those athletes who want a challenge.
It can also accommodate those new to working out and can be a great learning tool for those wanting to push their bodies to new limits.
Woman boxing with punching bag in garage gym close up, Image Istock
This combines high-energy boxing techniques. Classes combine combat techniques with cardio fitness to allow you to blow off some steam while having fun. Take some friends to any of the class and have fun together.
Article co-written with Thapelo Mowela
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