How exercising with others can help you reach your fitness goals

Increasingly, the focus of exercise is on home-based routines, the obvious advantages being you can work out whenever you have spare time, and in private.

But Sandy Reimer, director of health and fitness for the YWCA of Vancouver, urges fitness buffs to consider the advantages of group fitness.

“First, a good group fitness studio will offer so many routines you’ll never get bored,” she says. “Our Vancouver YWCA, for example, conducts 65 different group classes weekly.”

Group fitness also provides the crucial motivation often lacking at home: studies have found that group exercises challenge you to work out beyond your perceived limitation—and a good instructor can detect signs of fatigue and push you to your limit, as well as ensure your proper form, which may decrease your risk of injury.

And considering everyone in a group is working toward the same goal, chances are you’ll have more fun and make friends.

Reimer, who has taught group classes for more than 30 years, notes: “Contrary to what many people might think, you’re not on display in a group dynamic—it’s a very safe environment, whether the class is dance, yoga or barre.”

As far as determining if a class is for you, Reimer says, “first, ensure the instructor is certified; after that, drop in when the class is in session to see if the vibe is for you.”

Once a class is chosen and the first session begins, Reimer advises that participants let go and enjoy the music.

"After just a few weeks you’ll start seeing results, not just in your body, but in an improved mood—I promise you!”