Are you looking to add a bit of variety to your standard gym workout or start being a bit more active? Group fitness classes are a great way to do this. But how do you know which type of class is best for you?
There are a wide variety of fitness classes available, so first asses your physical needs. If you’re looking for something low impact, try yoga, but if you’re looking for something that’s going to work up a sweat, a high-intensity class will suit your requirements better. Here, we look into some of the more popular classes and what they entail.
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility, core strength and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing.1 It’s become increasingly popular around the world in the past few years, with over 300 million yoga practitioners worldwide.2
There are many different types of yoga, with Vinyasa Flow being the most popular – this style can be customised to all levels of expertise, and isn’t overly spiritual like some other styles of yoga can be.3
Whilst yoga doesn’t necessarily count towards the weekly 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity recommended by the NHS, it does count as a strengthening activity.1 Yoga is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, so if you’re looking for a low impact workout – this could be the one for you!
Getting in a spin
Stepping things up on the intensity front, spin is a fast-paced, high-impact cycling workout that takes place on a stationary bike.
Designed to burn a lot of calories – with an hour-long class potentially burning between 600 and 10004 – spinning is a vigorous form of exercise that significantly increases your heart rate and makes you sweat. Spinning is a combination of fast-paced bursts of cycling with lighter rest intervals allowing you to recover before the next burst.4
If you’re new to spinning, expect sore legs for the first few days after a class – but don’t worry, over time your muscles will strengthen and you’ll feel fitter, enabling your body to recover quicker.4
HIIT is an acronym for ‘high-intensity interval training’, and the clue is in the name – it’s based on intense bursts of exercise followed by short but often active recovery periods. A typical HIIT class will range from 10 to 30 minutes,5 so if you’re strapped for time a HIIT class could be the ideal way to fit exercise into a busy routine.
HIIT classes sometimes use equipment, such as barbells, however often they involve body weight exercises, for example high-knee running, squat jumps, mountain climbers and burpees6, so if you can’t make it to the gym class you can still benefit from completing the class from your own living room.
Health benefits include a high calorie burn in a short amount of time, a higher metabolic rate for hours afterwards, as well as building muscle.7
Packing a punch
Boxercise is based on the same training concepts used by boxers – but don’t worry, it doesn’t involve you punching anyone or worse, you getting punched!
Classes are high intensity and typically involve group exercise, warm-ups and working as partners using gloves and pads to go through boxing combinations, sometimes including lunges, squats and abdominal work.8
It’s a full body workout that burns calories, enhances muscular strength, improves hand-eye co-ordination, as well as being a great stress reliever.8
“The sport of fitness”
CrossFit, which is a fitness class that has risen in popularity over recent years, is based on a training philosophy of varied, high-intensity functional movements.9 It’s an inclusive program, perfect for all ages, fitness levels and abilities, as the workout is modified to meet the needs of those exercising.10 Classes usually include a mix of fitness activities, from carrying weighted bags to treadmill sprints and rowing, to box jumps and squats.
If you start being more active, you could experience the odd sporting sprain or injury – but fear not! Did you know that a health care cash plan can help to keep you fit and healthy? With our Good All Round cash plan, you can claim money back towards physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic and sports massage costs (pre-existing conditions are covered after 6 months). To find out more about the Good All Round cash plan and how it can help keep you healthy from top to toe, visit sovereignhealthcare.co.uk/good-all-round