5 ways to ease into group fitness
It happens every year: You resolve to jump start your fitness program as you ring in the new year, and by February, you’ve joined the more than 50 percent of folks who have given up on the plan. Maybe you should give group fitness a try. Research shows people who exercise in groups are more likely to stick to a regular routine because the other folks in the group hold them accountable.
If you think group fitness is for you, here are five tips to help you get started:
1. Introductions, please. Tell the instructor it’s your first time, and mention any injuries you have. Chat up others in the class for their insight on what to expect.
2. Find a friend. Social support is critical when you start a new exercise program, so take that belly-dancing class with a friend. Instead of meeting for coffee, connect at class. New things are always much more fun when you bring your BFF.
3. Set up shop in the middle. You don’t have stand on the front row, but you should avoid the back. You can see and be seen by the instructor from the middle and watch people in front of you who probably are regular attendees and who know all the moves.
4. Listen to your body. If an exercise or move feels uncomfortable or causes pain, skip it. Reach out to the instructor after class to clarify or critique your technique.
[Also read: Avoid Running Injuries]
5. Go back. Don’t give up on a class until you have attended at least three times. If you can, take classes with different instructors. Once you find a class that works for you, challenge yourself by changing it up. If you like indoor cycling, try yoga. If you like kickboxing, try strength training. Cross-training keeps your fitness program balanced and reduces the chances you’ll hit a plateau or get bored.
Exercising in the group setting is social and fun, and can help motive you to work harder than if you were working out on your own. By spring, you’ll be the regular providing insight to another newbie!