Want to join a group exercise class? Here’s some information that you might find helpful before you go.
What to wear:
When taking part in a yoga or Pilates class you’ll be more comfortable in socks or indeed with no footwear at all!
For other group exercise classes, you’ll require trainers. With so much choice out there is can be difficult to know where to start but here are some key points to ensure comfort during your class;
- Look for a cushioned sole that can protect your feet and absorb impact when exercising
- Make sure you have plenty of support, especially around the ankle
- Ensure they aren’t too tight or restrictive when moving
Always ensure you wear sport socks to prevent your trainers rubbing. But remember, you’ll be getting hot so don’t wear your thickest pair.
Generally speaking, you should wear whatever you are most comfortable in, however jeans are unsuitable. For most exercise classes wearing bottoms that have plenty of stretch and don’t restrict movement is always a good idea, especially for classes like yoga and Pilates.
If you are taking part in an indoor cycling class, wearing bottoms that are too loose or baggy can get in the way of bike parts, so it is advisable to wear shorts, legging or jogging bottoms.
Comfort is key. You can wear a sports vest, long sleeve t-shirt, short sleeved shirt or tank top to most classes. Cotton is a good material as it is breathable, meaning it won’t make you sweat more, but isn’t too absorbent so should only be considered for low sweat activities.
Fabrics like nylon and polyester are good for harder workouts as they don’t absorb sweat. This means moisture from your skin will evaporate instead of drenching your workout clothing.
Other natural fibres like wool (yes, we know this seems a tad odd but not woolly jumpers) and bamboo are great for lightweight, breathable, temperature regulating activewear items that don’t retain odour and wick sweat (which means that the fabric draws sweat away from your skin to be quickly and easily evaporate on the surface of the fabric).
You may wish to choose a slightly longer top you can either tuck in or that won’t ride up too much when you move during your workout.
It is also important for women to wear a suitable sports bra that provides plenty of support. You are going to be stretching and moving about a lot so you may want to invest in a good sports bra.
When you work out you are going to sweat. Sweat is your friend! It is a sign that you are working hard and benefiting from your exercise class, but it is also your body’s way of cooling itself down.
Taking a sports towel or hand towel with you to your class is a good idea. This is so you can towel off your sweat as you work out and wipe down your mat or any equipment when you finish.
You may need an additional towel for a shower after your class if there are facilities. Check in advance whether the venue provides towels and shower gel. Some do, and some don’t so give them a call and bring along your own supplies if needed.
It is important to stay hydrated when you are exercising so make sure you bring a bottle of water with you. Staying hydrated will help to give you more energy and will replace any fluids you loose during your workout.
Avoid fizzy or carbonated drinks immediately before your class. Some venues will provide water stations but if you are attending a class in the community this will be unlikely so make sure to bring a bottle with you.
Before going to a group exercise class
If you are attending a class for the first time and are feeling nervous or anxious, get in contact with the instructor to discuss how you feel. If you are attending a class call the instructor (or gym reception) and see if you can arrange to meet before the class so you can ask questions and make them aware that it is your first time. Instructors are there to support you and will be happy to put your mind at ease and talk you through their class, so you can know what to expect.
It is important to speak with the instructor prior to attending your class if you have any medical conditions or previous injuries that they need to be aware of. You should seek advice from your doctor before undertaking any form of exercise if you are in doubt about your health. If you feel unwell at any point stop immediately and tell your instructor.
The exercise class
A group exercise class will typically be between 40-60 minutes depending on the type and style of class you attend.
You’ll be instructed to practice gentle exercises to warm up at the start of the class and cool down at the end. This will relax your muscles and prevent injuries.
Once warmed up the main section of your class will begin. Make sure you go at your own pace and if you struggle to keep up, take a break. Exercise classes should be challenging but should also be fun, so don’t strain yourself and try to enjoy the experience.
When your class has finished make sure you take a moment to congratulate yourself (once you have taken a breath and had a drink). We’re sure you will have a positive experience and enjoy taking part in your chosen activity. If you didn’t enjoy your class, you should be honest with the instructor so they can support you moving forward or suggest another type of class that could be a better fit for you.
Use classfinder to find the perfect class for you.