Group exercise was arguably where the modern exercise industry began – with people engaging in ‘keep fit’ classes to music in community centres and halls around the country during the 1970s.
While the offerings now in the group exercise space are more diverse, and available in gyms as well as community facilities, the idea of combining exercise with social interaction remains the same.
With offerings including high intensity interval classes (HIIT), strength, dance and mind-body classes, it’s not one size fits all.
The social benefits of group exercise are one of the main attractions. Having a group of like-minded people around you inspires, encourages and motivates.
There are also benefits with accountability; knowing that there are others being challenged like you helps keep you moving.
Many exercise facilities offer a range of classes. Professionally run classes are also popping up in community settings and small studios, so regardless of where you are, in a big city or small community, you should be able to find classes that suit you.
The group exercise class format is great for those new to exercising, as it allows you to follow the instructor and participate without needing an in-depth knowledge of exercise.
For those worried about being on ‘display’, far from being watched by others, you’ll find yourself being surrounded by a group of like-minded people who are enjoying themselves and are supportive of your journey.
There is a financial benefit as well. Exercising in a group means you get the support of an exercise professional at a lower cost due to being part of a group.
Group exercise classes are not just limited to being land-based, with aqua classes maintaining popularity, especially with more senior and less able exercisers. In chest deep water your body can weigh up to 70 percent less than it does on land, so it’s less effort on the body to be in the water. However, once you start moving, the water adds extra resistance to work against.
There are significant flexibility benefits from working in water. With weight and joints supported, many people find they can get a greater range of movement. The extra support the water provides also allows exercises to improve stability and balance that could not be completed on land.
If you are looking for an activity fix with some company, then group exercise ticks the boxes.
(Information supplied by NZ Register of Exercise Professionals)