Tips For Having A Great Group Exercise Session

Warm Up Before and Cool Down After

A good group exercise instructor will incorporate a warm-up and cool-down session. Slower motions and dynamic stretching should be included in the warm-up. Static stretching and relaxation should be included in the cool-down. Both of these practices help you to reduce your risk of injury and decrease muscle soreness.

Go At Your Own Pace

The beauty of exercising to music with a group of comrades and being led by a group exercise instructor is that you tend to work harder and longer than you would on your own. That's good--but not if you overdo it. Bouncing and straining, breaking your form and trying to keep up may lead to injuries. Group exercise is not a competition. Go at your own pace. Use the modifications offered by the instructor if you are executing a new motion or if you are at an entry level of fitness. Allow conditioning, strength and flexibility to build gradually.

Watch Your Form

Good form brings better results and fewer problems. Lift your chin and chest to neutral body alignment, lengthen the spine, "zip in" your abdominals, and tuck in your pelvis so that your lower back is elongated. Make sure that your knee is aligned over your ankle, and not in front of your foot when executing a lunge or squat. Don't do motions that cause you to swing; rather, contract the muscles of your limbs. Be careful not to hyperextend your elbows and knees. Never bounce. Remember to monitor your breathing and intensity.

Look Straight Ahead

Looking down at your feet can cause neck or back pain. Pain has no place in a fitness session. You are overdoing it if you are in pain.

Wear the Proper Clothing

Don't wear just any old pair of shoes to a group exercise session. Running or tennis shoes, for instance, do not provide the cushioning or support you need. Look for lightweight shoes with firm support that cushions the ball of the foot. Cross training shoes tend to work well as they have good arch support and keep your foot from pronating (turning inward). Make sure you have good supportive, lightweight clothing, including a good sports bra, and dress in layers to accommodate the warm up and cool down periods. Bring a closed water bottle to class and make sure you take 3-4 good swigs for each 5 minutes of cardio activity.
Last Update: January 17 2014
For additional information, contact Joanne Britton.