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We take a look at the health and fitness benefits of group exercise classes

Staying motivated and sticking to an exercise regime can be difficult at times, particularly if you tend to exercise alone. If you run outdoors or work out at the gym, for example, you’re relying entirely on yourself to keep to your fitness goals. And when you’re feeling particularly tired or unmotivated there’s no one to spur you into action.

This is why group exercise can be so motivating and encouraging, especially if you have specific fitness goals or thrive on a bit of healthy competition. From Zumba classes to ballet barre and bootcamps, there are plenty of group fitness activities to suit all interests and fitness levels. Here are our top five favourites:

Spinning

This indoor cycling class is a fantastic calorie-burner and stress reliever and the added bonus is that it can be done in all weathers! Depending on the intensity of your workout, a spinning class could burn up to 500 calories. Set to upbeat music and with inspirational instructors, spinning classes are a great way to get in a good cardio workout. And as they are low impact, these workouts are particularly good for anyone with joint problems.

Barre classes

If the thought of a ballet-based fitness class conjures up images of twirling around in tutus, then think again. Barre classes are an excellent way of improving your posture, engaging your core and toning your legs, arms and bottom. It’s the perfect way to build overall strength and create a long, lean shape. What’s not to love? What’s more, the good thing is that you don’t need to have a dance background to take part.

Zumba

Based on salsa and other Latin dance moves, and with a fun, party-like atmosphere, Zumba has to be one of the most fun group exercise classes you can do. A high-energy aerobic workout like this will certainly burn plenty of calories – between 400 and 600 per hour for most people. The fat-burning aspect is maximised as the classes are choreographed to include intervals of varying intensity, with plenty of fitness moves thrown in for good measure.

Yoga

If high energy, calorie-burning exercise isn’t your thing, then a group yoga class is a great way to build strength as well as long, lean muscles. Of course you could always practise at home, with an online class or app, but a group class means that your instructor can ensure that you are performing the moves correctly so that you avoid injury and get the most out of your class. And nothing beats the sense of community and connection that you get from a shared yoga and meditation practice.

Bootcamps

Bootcamp classes are held outdoors so they are the ideal group workout for gym-phobics – plus you get the added benefits of enjoying fresh air in a natural setting. Based around high intensity interval training, bootcamps help to build strength and stamina, burn fat and improve your cardiovascular abilities. You’ll feel the burn, that’s for sure, but with an instructor urging you to give it your best and the group dynamic spurring you on, the results are bound to be impressive.

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