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What Are the Different Types of Exercise Classes?

Many gyms offer yoga and Pilates exercise classes.
Exercise pants.
Many gyms offer group dance aerobics classes.
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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2014
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There are a number of different types of group and individual exercise classes, each designed to fit one's preferences and goals for physical fitness. Group classes are some of the most common, and these are often aerobics classes, such as aerobic dance, aerobic kickboxing, Spinning® classes, or even aqua aerobics classes. Of course, not all group classes are aerobic; yoga and Pilates are two good examples of non-aerobic classes. Alternatively, individual exercise classes may be purchased with a personal trainer; these tend to be more expensive than group classes, but they offer customized, focused attention.

Exercise classes may also be divided up by age. Classes for adults are some of the most common, but there are many exercise classes available for kids as well. These tend to be less structured, and often encourage kids to get exercise by having fun and playing. Mommy and Me classes are an option for new moms; these classes exist for babies and toddlers. In addition, prenatal classes can be a great choice for women to stay in shape safely throughout pregnancy. There are also fitness classes available for older people; aqua aerobics is one example, which helps older people to stay in shape without putting any impact on joints and bones.

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Many gyms and fitness centers offer exercise classes on a daily basis, at different times of day to make it more convenient for the gym customers. Customers are often able to purchase a package deal, and take as many classes as they want; gym memberships frequently offer this option as well. As mentioned above, aerobics classes tend to be the most popular because these are easy to teach in a group and offer an excellent workout for participants. Regular aerobics is a good place to start and learn the basics, and then more advanced aerobics classes such as dance or kickboxing can be a good way to learn new skills and increase the difficulty. There are a number of other options, however, such as a kettlebell workout which combines strength and aerobics.

Weight training exercise classes are not very common. Instruction on weight lifting equipment will generally need to be done on an individual basis, though many gyms have trainers on-site to provide individual exercise classes. Yoga and Pilates are also very common exercise classes, and there are dozens of different variations of these as well. Chances are, if one is looking for a specific type of exercise class, there is a gym somewhere that offers it.

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Discuss this Article

Saraq90
Post 7

Many of my friends are pregnant right now, its that end of the twenties rush I guess and I always encourage them to take not only pregnancy exercise classes but postnatal exercise classes.

One of my friends studied nutrition and did a study or helped out on a study that found that when you do aerobic exercise and weight training you will not face the loss of calcium from your bones that occurs during lactation (this is important because it turns out that when you produce milk and don't have enough calcium your milk borrows calcium from your bones and needless to say the milk doesn't return the calcium).

That said, as far as working out when your pregnant, like I said I recommend it as I have heard it having helped some of my pregnant friends, while some cry just getting into their workout clothes (or trying to get into them).

So if the latter might be where you are in your pregnancy, I bet that is where working out with other pregnant women who are at your same length of pregnancy would be helpful.

Sinbad
Post 6

The only thing I miss about my gym membership is the exercise classes! They were absolutely fantastic. I did spin, boot camp classes, yoga, sculpt classes, aerobics classes, pilates classes, and finally dance exercise classes.

Here's some of the quirky things I found out about these classes that I don't think I would have found out had I not taken these classes: spin class is half about the music so if you find an instructor whose music taste you enjoy stick with them - as the music changes the spin experience and a veteran instructor will match what you are doing with the music.

Also important - take spin if you are just starting out because I felt like it was the easiest class to take a break in if you needed to whereas in some of the other classes you might be in someone's way briefly if you stand and take a break.

The instructors in boot camp exercise classes generally take the name seriously. They will act like drill sergeants. No yelling in your face or anything like that but they will have you do push ups and other type things and be yelling during drills in a military-like fashion. I thought this class was great for its fast pace and intensity.

sunshined
Post 4

I have done a variety of exercise classes over the years including aerobics, jazzercise and kick boxing and have enjoyed all of them.

A few months ago I signed up for an exercise spinning class. I was surprised at how hard I worked and how much I sweat during these exercises.

I like a good work out and felt challenged and really good when I was done. I have added this to one of my favorite classes.

I like to do weight training in addition to cardiac exercise because feel like I stay in much better shape when I have good muscle tone.

The exercise classes are more enjoyable to me because I like working out with other people at the same time and like the upbeat songs we exercise to.

julies
Post 3

I have to work out with other people or it just doesn't happen. I am not motivated enough to exercise on my own.

I signed up for some local exercise classes at a gym close to my home. Most of the women are my age and are not big exercise buffs, so I felt comfortable right away.

Even though it is hard work, we also have a lot of fun which makes the time go by faster. My favorite class is a low impact aerobics class.

I feel like this one gets my heart rate up and I like a lot of the dance moves our instructor has added to make it more interesting. I would have never thought up this routine on my own.

Kat919
Post 2

@jennythelib - I agree with you about mixing it up! I've tried some interesting classes over the years.

The article mentions that weight training classes are rare. That's true in a way, I suppose; you don't usually see a class that's held in a weight room (although I took one in college). But there are a lot of strength training options in group exercise classes.

A lot of traditional aerobics classes, like Jazzercise, have a strength component using equipment like light hand weights, resistance tubes, and exercise balls. These can be really good for strength training because they do a lot of different moves instead of always the same equipment.

My gym has the Les Mills classes. One of those is Body Pump, which is a barbell class. I only tried it once - it wasn't my cup of tea - but it is more like traditional weight training. The barbell and plates, plus an aerobics step used as a bench, are the only equipment. And it's *tough.*

Pilates exercise classes are my favorite of all; they have a lot of strength and flexibility training.

jennythelib
Post 1

More people should try group exercise classes! People join gyms and don't realize what all the available services are, then they just start working out on the elliptical trainer or whatnot and of course they get incredibly bored.

It's nice to find a gym that has a range of different classes you can try. That way, you get cross training, and you don't have to worry about getting bored.

At my gym, I've done yoga, kickboxing, dance fitness, and even a rowing class. (Lots of people like spinning, but I'm too short for that. I have trouble reaching the pedals!) I've stayed away from the bootcamp exercise classes, but I hear they're awesome if you're tough enough.

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