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Everyone knows that exercise is good for you. Despite this fact, many Americans are not getting the amount they need; only six states require physical education for grades K-12, and over 80% of adults aren't meeting the guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. Since most people don't know where to begin, it can be hard to establish a fitness routine; you've joined a gym or fitness center, but where do you go from there?

Fortunately, many gyms offer a variety of classes to help newcomers get started on their exercise journey. Though they can be daunting at first, group fitness classes are the ideal way to begin; let's take a look at a few of the ways you can benefit from group fitness classes.

  • Social opportunities: Gyms are attended by people who live in the area. That means that the individuals in your group fitness class are most likely locals, making the weekly or biweekly events a wonderful place to meet people and socialize. By taking advantage of the time before and after class, you'll be able to connect with people that have similar lifestyle goals, needs, and interests; you never know what new friends you'll make!
  • Motivation boost: Group classes are unique in that you have the support of a knowledgable instructor and the companionship of others who are in your exact position. The instructor is able to observe and correct your form while pushing you to your limits, and the group mentality allows you to go farther than you initially thought capable. When you're surrounded by the motivation to return next week, or next class, your odds of doing just that are greatly increased.
  • Accountability support: One of the most difficult aspects of exercising is holding yourself accountable. It can be exceptionally easy to skip a workout because you're tired or in a bad mood, but the environment of group exercise can help keep you -- and your laziness -- in check. You won't want to have to explain to a whole group of people why you didn't make it to last class, and will be forced to acknowledge a loss of money if you were required to pay for it ahead of time.

Don't judge group fitness classes before you've given them a try. You'll find that the initial embarrassment dissipates almost as soon as they begin, leaving only these benefits behind.

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