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Which Classes Are Right for You?

Fitness has come a long way, and the emergence of group fitness classes in gyms and health clubs has enabled millions of people to get in shape and enjoy the benefits of having a healthy body.

If you plan to join a gym and attend its fitness classes, you may want to check out the following.

  • Are the instructors certified, or do they have formal education or training in what they’re teaching?

  • Does the aerobic room display safety signs and information on what to do in an emergency (first aid, CPR, and so on)?

  • Does the instructor teach safety precautions in class and offer options for beginner exercisers?

  • Does the amount of room in the facility allow students to move around without becoming too personal with the member next to them?

  • Is the equipment used in class in good condition? Are the mats, floors, and mirrors clean?

The following list highlights some of the most popular classes:

  • Step aerobics: An intense workout in which you elevate your heart rate by performing choreographed movements on an adjustable step or BOSU (circular platform).

  • Body sculpting/muscle conditioning: A fitness class dedicated to working your muscles using a variety of equipment like dumbbells, steps, bands, bars, and tubes.

  • Circuit training: This class combines a variety of exercises, and participants rotate from one to the next at a quick pace.

  • Boot camp: A back-to-basics class that requires 100 percent of your effort. Classes typically incorporate sports drills, jump rope, sprinting, or stair running.

  • Kickboxing (also called aeroboxing): This class incorporates boxing techniques with aerobic dance to give you a great cardiovascular workout and help improve your balance, coordination, and agility.

  • Funk, Hip Hop, and other dance workouts: These low-impact aerobic classes get you dancing to funky music with choreographed club dance moves.

  • High- and low-impact aerobics: A cardiovascular workout that combines high- and low-impact movements, such as kicking, jumping, and squatting, for a vigorous workout.

  • Spinning: This exercise class involves pedaling to music on a stationary bike. It’s intense, but each bike has its own tension gauge so you can go as hard as you want or cut back and let your classmates pass you by.

  • Water aerobics: Doing aerobic dance moves in the water may be a bit slow-paced, but the water offers exercisers extra resistance and support. This class is great for pregnant women or people with joint problems.

  • Yoga: Yoga incorporates a true mind and body approach to fitness. This type of class challenges your body with stretching and strengthening positions and poses. Learning to balance your body while integrating deep breathing throughout the workout is the primary focus during this class. The concentration and focus needed to participate clear your mind and reduce your stress.

  • Tai Chi: Slow motion movements, deep breathing, and concentration are emphasized in this ancient Chinese martial arts workout.

  • Pilates: Originally designed for dancers, these classes help improve your flexibility, strength, and posture. This workout is most commonly performed on a Pilates machine which has pulleys and cables. All movements are slow and controlled, and participants concentrate on deep breathing during each exercise.

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