Why Runners Should Try Group Fitness—It’s Not Just for Jane Fonda

Photo: Bootcampsf.com

Non-running forms of exercise has its benefits, too.

Written by: Linzay Logan

We all have excuses for why we can’t go for a run every once in a while—there’s no time; your injury has been really bothering you; you are bored of putting in all these miles; running is just too hard sometimes. On days when one of your excuses for skipping out on a run comes up, consider something else—why not cross train instead?

Many runners get into the groove of only running and often get warn out physically and mentally from logging mile after mile. Throwing in cross training can have big benefits when running starts to feel more like a chore than an enjoyable activity.

If you have a gym membership check out the classes they offer—they aren’t the Jane Fonda-led jazzercise classes that you are thinking of from the 80s. Most gyms offer tough boot camp and weight lifting classes, spinning, kickboxing and many others that are intended to get your heart rate up and your muscles burning. Some teachers even take classes outside so you won’t miss out on your Vitamin D fix.

If you’re weary of these classes for one reason or another it’s understandable, but even if you end up in the worst class you think you could have gotten yourself into it’s only an hour. If you don’t like it, just try something else next time. Once I ended up in an advance step class with no prior step experience. I was lost the entire time—what the heck is a Flamingo or a K-step? Instead of packing up my stuff and walking out with my tail between my legs I tried to just keep moving and embarrass myself the least amount as possible. Now my friends and I just laugh about it and I’m sure if you find yourself in a similar situation you’ll be able to laugh it off too.

If the intimidation factor is just too much, go check out the class before jumping in. Just watch the class for a few minutes to see what it’s like and you might find it to be a whole less intimidating than you thought. When you do make it to class, get there early and let the instructor know you are new. They will help to make you comfortable and let you know anything you need to know to have the most fun and get the best results from the class.

Now my opinion may be biased because I teach group fitness, but I love it. Here are my top five reasons for runners to try group fitness:

  • It’s a great escape from running when the last thing you want to do is put in another mile.
  • Depending on the class, you can get just as good of a workout in comparison to running, but also work your body in new ways that running doesn’t.
  • With other people around you and an instructor telling you what to do, you are likely to push yourself a little bit harder than if you were in the weight room or running solo.
  • Take weight lifting or sculpting classes and you’ll become a stronger and faster runner.
  • You get into class and out in usually an hour and you’ve gotten your workout in for the day. Plus, you’re less likely to skip out early with others around.

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