Choosing a group exercise class may seem a little intimidating. The options are endless. Choosing the one that best suits your needs can be tricky. Should you look at the content of the class or should you focus on the community it creates?
A class that I recently tried was called DancePulse, a cardio class with dance and music. I was interested in the aerobic aspect of the class and how far it would go in elevating my heart rate.
I was also interested in the social dynamic . The instructor was from a dance community that I had belonged to years prior. I didn’t know anyone else in a group of about 12. So there was just a little familiarity on a social level.
The impact of the content.
When choosing a group exercise class it’s always challenging when you don’t know the specific content of the class. You don’t know the intensity, volume, level of difficulty, and in my case, the strength and endurance required to get the cardio benefit. You may be familiar with the movements or the technique but the order, transitions, sequencing, timing, repetitions, can all be different depending on the instructor.
When you are new to a class being completely mindful of your abilities is important but not easy. The good thing with online classes is that if you are paying attention to the instructor, it is quite hard to watch anyone else in the class. It’s easier to be true to yourself and your own capabilities because no one is really watching.
The impact of the community.
Now for the community. What community was I interacting with? The Zoom community? The dance community? The fitness community? There were a couple of freestyle moments where the instructor said something like, “we are all dancing together”. That brought a smile to my face and made me chuckle, because we were dancing “together virtually” and “virtually together”.
With another online group exercise class that I take regularly, the instructor is good at creating discussion at the end of the class. It’s fun to listen to others and reflect on our recent class experience or other worldly matters. If you don’t have time to stay that’s OK. The option is there if you wish to engage with others.
As a result, knowing a bit about the content and a bit of the community provided me with enough incentive to get “through the door” and into a new group exercise class experience.
So if you do not know where to start, pick one element: content or community.
Decide what you want to do physically(stretch/strengthen, yoga, dance, cardio, weight train, relax, sweat, release, etc) or join into a group where you have some personal connection, no matter how limited it may be. Even better, ask a friend, family member, colleague or neighbour what classes they have been doing and try them out.
Take it easy if you are not familiar with the routine. Start with going through the motions before going full out. In any case, get started and give it a go!
And if you are new to group exercise, check out my post Group Exerciser to find out why group exercise is a great option to get you moving.