Making Group Exercise Effective for the Individual

I’ve been teaching group exercise for over 10 years and I love it!  It is inspiring to have the opportunity to become a part of someone’s daily exercise by offering instruction, and making exercise fun.  Of course good music and a great personaily, along with a lot of knowledge, are a must for making the group exercise experience effective and worthwhile for participants.

As a student in exercise physiology,  I study the importance of observation and analysis of individual fitness levels, and use this information to make exercise recommendations.  I have heard some in my field question whether or not group exercise is really good, since it doesn’t take into account each individual’s fitness level.

However, I can debate this misconception.  A good instructor will not teach a class to get a personal workout, but will be focused on the participants.  The instructor will observe each student and will note things like poor posture, apparent fatigue, and incorrect execution of movements.  If these are noticed, an instructor may make a general reminder cue for all students, or may go around the room helping each student (without drawing attention to the student), so that they may correct themselves.  The instructor will also (if they are really good at what they do), show varying levels of intensity throughout the workout reminding participants to work at the level most comfortable to them.

A good instructor will not simply put music on and start moving.  They should be using that time to also educate participants.   Understanding individual fitness levels within a group setting is important in order for them to experience workouts that are both safe and effective.  With a good instructor,  group exercise can be a rewarding, fun, and an effective experience for all that wish to participate!

About Kimberly Dawson, M.S.

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