Have you been wanting to try out a new exercise class, but you’re not sure where to begin? There are plenty of group fitness classes out there for you to get your sweat on and achieve your health goals in a fun and exhilarating way. The key is to pick the ones that interest you and give them a whirl!
Whether you’re just starting out or starting over, here are 5 beginner-friendly exercise classes to try out* and kick start your fitness journey.
Kick, punch, and jump your way toward a stronger you with an action-packed cardio kickboxing class. You’ll power your way through this high-intensity workout by doing a variety of kickboxing combinations, all choreographed to heart-pumping music. You can work at your own pace and modify any kickboxing moves to fit your current fitness level. Classes usually last 30 – 60 minutes.
- Why it's good for your health: Cardio conditioning classes like kickboxing give you a sneaky high-intensity interval class. You may not even realize it (because you are having so much fun) but all that punching and kicking provides a full body workout that gets your heart rate pumping. That can improve overall fitness, help improve your glucose and insulin sensitivity, and of course add to extra calorie burn.
- Why might you enjoy it: Need to wrangle a bad mood or slash stress after a long day? All that punching and kicking can give you a blissful and mood-boosting endorphin high.
Mat Pilates takes you through a series of dynamic movements and breathing techniques that focus on your body’s natural powerhouse, the core. Aside from a cushy mat, no equipment is required. You’ll use your body weight to strengthen and stabilize muscles. Classes usually last 45 – 60 minutes.
- Why it's good for your health: Maintaining a strong core can ease lower back pain and improve posture. Pilates also works in a functional capacity to help you perform better in your other weekly workouts and your daily activities.
- Why you might enjoy it: Low on energy? Take to the mat for a gentle but demanding workout that will engage your muscles and power up your core.
Spinning, or indoor cycling, is a challenging workout that helps you shed fat, build muscle, and boost endurance. You’ll ride a stationary bike that allows you to control your pace and resistance as you pedal through intervals and recovery periods. Some classes may even include imagery that simulates various outdoor terrain, adding a sense of adventure to your experience. Classes usually last 45 – 60 minutes.
- Why it's good for your health: Not only does indoor cycling promote better heart health and greater lung capacity, it can help you manage the stress and anxiety of daily life. Low and high interval phases work your body in different ways: pedal faster to burn calories, or turn up the tension to strengthen your leg muscles more.
- Why you might enjoy it: Unlike outdoor group rides, you don’t have to worry about lagging behind the pack. You can stay at a pace that suits your fitness level and still reach your destination alongside the rest of the class. Plus, there is no car traffic to worry about!
Yoga is a mind-body workout that connects breath with movement. A zen-like atmosphere is created through dim lighting and soft music. Intensity level depends on the form of yoga you choose. Gently-paced classes like Hatha and Vinyasa are a great place to start and include basic yoga flow poses and stretches. Some classes may include guided meditation. Classes usually last 60 – 90 minutes.
- Why it's good for your health: Yoga helps you hone your focus and boost your brainpower. Over time, you may find it easier to let go of worries and embrace a new sense of calm. You don’t have to be “bendy” to do yoga—with regular practice, you’ll improve flexibility and restore balance, which in turn helps you to prevent injury.
- Why you might enjoy it: Whether you’re looking for a holistic approach to fitness or an active recovery workout between tougher exercise classes, you’ll walk away from a yoga class feeling more relaxed and empowered to take on the rest of your day.
Zumba is a high energy, dance-inspired fitness class that moves you to the rhythm of South American beats. You don’t need dance experience to get started; all you have to do is follow the leader and feel the music. Some classes also infuse interval training and resistance training. Classes usually last 60 minutes.
- Why it's good for your health: As you learn new dance routines, you’ll improve agility and coordination, which is important to work on as you age. Zumba can also increase your cardiovascular fitness, similar to other aerobic activities like walking, jogging, and rowing.
- Why you might enjoy it: If you’re looking for a calorie-torching exercise class that’s so fun you’ll forget it’s a workout, Zumba is a good choice.
Even with a busy schedule, you can reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Many fitness centers offer group exercise classes at a variety of times throughout the week. Whether you choose a gym that’s near your work or close to home, all you have to do is look up the group class schedule on your gym’s website and pick a few classes that work for you.
When you enjoy your workouts, you're more likely to do them regularly. And when coupled with good nutrition, you’ll be well on your way to your best health ever. Let us know which of these exercise classes inspired you to get started on your journey!
*It's always good to consider checking in with your doctor before starting a new workout routine.