Just like different sports require athletes to have different fitness levels or strengths, so different exercise classes have different benefits for health and fitness. Some regimes may be more beneficial for weight-loss, while others improve strength and endurance or balance and flexibility.
Here is a run-down of the most commonly found exercise classes, what their benefits are and some points that are good for you to know. At the end of the day, choosing a class that suits you is the most important thing.
- Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that promotes harmony, balance, health and happiness
- Regimes are a series of stretches and poses, which assist in promoting various attributes such as strength, flexibility, aiding internal bodily functions etc
- Yoga comprises breathing exercises, mediation and various relaxation techniques
- Improves flexibility and movement in joints, ligaments and tendons
- Strengthens and lengthens muscles
- Improves balance and co-ordination
- Improves postural strengthen
- Aids cardiac and respiration functioning
- Mental and spiritual – reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety; promotes mindfulness, feel-good emotions and control over thoughts
Good to know:
Yoga is a low-impact exercise that is highly beneficial to your body. You can try it if you aren’t fit or if you are recovering from an injury. It’s good for stress relief and can help you get a better night’s sleep. If you are injured or have been injured, tell your yoga instructor and consult your doctor before embarking on a yoga programme, but generally speaking a good teacher will simply modify postures for you.
- Exercises target a number of different muscles in a single routine
- Focuses on increasing muscle strength in all muscles, focusing on the core abdominal region and back
- Comprises exercises from ballet, calisthenics and yoga
- Comprises three elements – exercise, breathing and meditation
- Improves fitness, flexibility, balance and co-ordination
- Builds muscle and improves core strength
- Aim is the relaxation of the shoulders, neck and back
- Better lung capacity as well as circulation (breathing techniques)
Good to know:
You can give it a try regardless of your fitness level – you’ll start at the beginner level and learn proper techniques first before you progress. If you struggle with back pain, Pilates can help to improve core strength, which can ease pain. If you are already fit and do other forms of exercise, Pilates postures can provide a new exercise challenge.
- At a spinning class, you’ll ride a stationary bike
- The bike calculates distance, kilojoules burnt and time – providing a challenge
- You’ll need to use different positions on the bike (saddle, standing and bending forward)
- Improves cardiovascular function for better heart health
- Builds muscle tone
- Strengthens leg muscles and works the gluteus maximus
- Builds endurance and strength
- Good for weight loss (burning kilojoules)
- Stress relief
Good to know:
If you have joint or knee problems or back pain, and struggle with high-impact exercises, a spinning class can provide a low-impact cardio workout. If you have suspected injuries or pain, rather get it checked by your doctor first. If you are unfit, take it slow – it is adjustable to your fitness level and capabilities. It’s also a good option for those who don’t have much time.
- Crossfit is a programme that focuses on strength and body condition through exercise and healthy eating
- It blends various sporting disciplines and includes all 10 fitness domains including stamina, fitness, balance and endurance
- Regimes include exercises from gymnastics, swimming, power-lifting, aerobic exercise, running rowing and others
- Builds power, strength, balance and flexibility
- Cardiovascular and respiratory endurance
- Strengthens muscles
- Improves fitness
Good to know:
You don’t have to be super fit to give it a try – regimes are tailored to fitness levels and you increase your workouts as you improve. CrossFit workouts evolve as your strength and endurance improve, so it’s constantly changing to meet your requirements.
The ultimate decision rests with you and what you feel you are capable of. With so many options, there is usually something that suits every preference, so go with what you enjoy.