Aerobic classes have been phenomenally popular for years. They appeal to a wide variety of exercisers but particularly those who enjoy a social environment, regularly scheduled formal exercise and need the on-going encouragement of an instructor. Traditionally, classes have been more popular with women, but today with the addition of various athletic-based formats, classes are attracting men in ever increasing numbers.
How to Get Started
• Choose an exercise facility that offers a wide variety of classes. Be sure there are a number of class options available for you once you graduate from the beginner level.
• Choose a facility that hires qualified and certified instructors. To create a safe and effective program, an instructor needs a good grounding in exercise design and technique.
Find out which qualifications are acceptable in your area and then ask the instructors about their educational backgrounds.
• Always exercise on a wood sprung floor to lessen the impact to your joints. Repeated pounding of the feet on a hard surface produces stresses to the shins, feet and back that can result in injury.
• Include a variety of classes in your program. Variety will help to keep you motivated and interested in continuing your workouts.
• Be sure there is an element of fun in each class you attend. If you can find instructors and class formats that you enjoy you are more likely to attend regularly.
• Wear comfortable, lightweight exercise clothes. Avoid heavy sweat suits that will trap perspiration and cause overheating.
• Proper shoes are critical in avoiding injury. Purchase a shoe designed specifically for aerobics. They’re constructed to provide additional forefoot cushioning and lateral stability.
Aerobic Class Etiquette
• Avoid talking and chattering to your friends or neighbours during the class. Continual talking during class can ruin the concentration of other participants as well as the instructor and indicates you are not focusing and working as hard as you should be.
• Do not wear heavy perfumes to class. Once you begin to sweat, the smell intensifies and spreads throughout the room bothering participants with asthma and allergies. Also, on the subject of odour, remember your deodorant! Any strong odour can make the atmosphere miserable for your fellow exercisers.
• Communicate with your instructor. If you’re new, pregnant or nursing an injury, let her know so she can provide alternatives for you when necessary. She may also have some pre- or post-class pointers to make the class more enjoyable and easier to follow. If you have feedback regarding any aspect of the class, the best instructors are open to constructive suggestions and will do all they can to accommodate your needs.
• Clean up after yourself. It only takes a minute to return dumbbells and other equipment to their storage places and pick up your towel and used tissues. Since many clubs run back-to-back classes, leaving the room messy delays the start of the next class and can annoy the participants.
• Perform controlled movements. When momentum is introduced the risk of injury is greatly increased. Use your muscles to lift and lower your limbs into position.
• Avoid bouncing. Bouncing during stretches and other warm-up activities has been linked to injuries. Holding stretches has been proven much more effective in increasing flexibility.
• Practise good body alignment. Listen to and watch your instructor carefully as she demonstrates and explains the proper alignment for each exercise. Good alignment will
ensure that the proper muscles are getting a safe and effective workout.
• Breathe. Your muscles need oxygen to work.
• Take responsibility for your own workout. Don’t rely on
your instructor to do it for you. Pace yourself. The best instructors offer options for increasing and decreasing exercise intensity throughout their classes. During the aerobic portion of the class be sure you are exercising in your target heart rate zone for maximum results. Wearing a heart rate monitor allows you, at a glance, to measure your heart rate (refer to Target Heart Rate in this section for more detail).