Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, Boxercise, Legs Bums and Tums… there are a huge number of exercises classes out there to choose from, each with their own benefits. If you lack the motivation to work out by yourself, these classes are an ideal way for you to get off the sofa and get your cardiovascular system working. But with so many possibilities, how do you decide which one is right for you? Here are our top tips on finding your perfect exercise class.
First thing’s first, think of the practicalities of attending your exercise class. If motivation is a problem for you, choosing a class held a half hour drive away might put you off regularly attending. Equally, if you want to exercise after work then give yourself time to get there, change and have a snack before the session begins- the last thing you want to do is get sweaty and stressed out before the class even begins!
If you decide on your personal fitness goals first, you can find a class that will help you achieve them. People looking to lose weight should find a fast paced session that includes plenty of cardiovascular activity. High energy classes like spinning will get your heart and lungs going and burn calories fast. If you want to tone your body, look for strength and conditioning classes like Bodypump® or Boxercise to mould you into the perfect shape. For people looking for something more relaxing, holistic exercise sessions like yoga and Pilates will grow your flexibility and suppleness.
If you have not exercised in some time or lead an inactive lifestyle, it might be best to visit your doctor before embarking on a new programme. It is equally as important to consider your health when choosing the type of class you want to attend. For example, if you suffer from joint problems then a high impact class like aerobics or kickboxing may actually do more harm than good. Instead, consider activities with low impact to the joints like spinning or ballroom dancing. If in doubt, you could always ring the instructor before attending the class to get their advice.
Exercise classes aim to make working out fun and enjoyable, keeping you motivated to attend week after week. But if you choose something completely out of your comfort zone you might find yourself losing your mojo. If you have two left feet and avoid the dance floor like the plague, dancing classes like Zumba will probably not be your cup of tea. Equally, if you have a short attention span and find it hard to sit still then holistic classes like yoga may drive you round the bend. If you do find yourself hating your session then it might be time to try something new- after all, you will not be working to your full potential if you are loathing every minute of it!
Many gym memberships offer free exercise classes so you can try out as many as you like. Large gyms have a full and diverse class timetable that offers something for everyone. Whilst you may not plan to use the gym itself, the monthly cost of gym membership may still end up cheaper than paying a one-off fee for each class individually. See if your health insurance policy offers discounted gym membership for a particular chain- this is a great way of saving a bit of money. And once you start exercising regularly, you might find that the gym looks more appealing!
Many people go to exercises classes by themselves because they are a great way to meet new friends. But if you are intimidated at the thought of going it alone, drag a mate along to give you an extra boost of confidence. Some classes like ballroom and Latin dance require you to have a partner anyway, so you will be one step ahead of the rest. In addition, you could always ask around your friends and family to see if they can recommend a particular instructor or class.
Good luck in choosing your exercise class, and have fun!