Group Exercise is an enjoyable way to get fit by participating with other exercisers in a wide variety of activities. Group exercise helps:
- Burn fat and weight loss
- to improve cardiovacular condition
- tone muscles (more so with classes designed to tone or strengthen)
- adherance to the exercise program due to the support of other people
- Improve the speed and efficiency of muscle contractions
Common questions about group exercise classes
What is aerobic exercise?
The word aerobic literally means “with oxygen” or “in the presence of oxygen.” Aerobic exercise is any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously for a long period of time and is rhythmic in nature. Aerobic activity trains the heart, lungs and cardiovascular system to process and deliver oxygen more quickly and efficiently to every part of the body. As the heart muscle becomes stronger and more efficient, a larger amount of blood can be pumped with each stroke. Fewer strokes are then required to rapidly transport oxygen to all parts of the body. An aerobically fit individual can work longer, more vigorously and achieve a quicker recovery at the end of the aerobic session.
What factors affect aerobic training?
Frequency, duration and intensity. Frequency refers to how often you perform aerobic activity, duration refers to
the time spent at each session, and intensity refers to the percentage of your maximum heartrate or heartate reserve at which you work.
How often should I train? How hard? For how long?
Most experts believe that 3-5 times per week for a duration of 20-60 minutes at 60-90% of age-specific maximal heartrate or 50-85% of VO2max (heart rate reserve).
How do I determine my target heartrate?
The general formula for the average person is 220-age times 60% and times 90% of HRmax. For example, a 30-year old would calculate his target zone using the above formula: 220-30=190.
190x.60=114 and 190x.90=171. This individual would try to keep his heartrate between 114 (low end) and 171 (high end) beats per minute.
Calculate target heartrate by subtracting your age from 220
Subtract your average resting heart rate from target heartrate
Which is better for muscle training: Weights or ExerTube (DynaBand)?
Neither is actually “better”. All exercise accessories have their uses. Weights require more muscles in use to maintain proper form, while the bands and tubes are easier to use in targeting specific muscles. Bands and tubes also have the advantage of being somewhat adjustable in resistance just by changing length. To change weights indumbbells, you either need another set of dumbbells, or extra plates for those which use plates. Dumbbells, however, do offer a much greater range of available weights, particularly at the high end, making them more useful in strength training. Bands and tubes are generally used in resistance training exercises.
What is a warm-up, and how important is it in aerobic activity?
A warm-up helps your body prepare itself for exercise and reduces the chance of injury. The warm-up should be a combination of rhythmic exercise which begins to raise the heartrate and raise muscle temperature, and static stretching through a full range of motion. The rhythmic exercise may be a slower version of the aerobic activity to come. For example, you might want to walk before you jog, or do some aerobic dance movements before an aerobic or step class. The stretches in the warm-up should be non-ballistic and cover all of the major muscle groups. Always stretch the lower back before doing any lateral movement of the upper torso such as side bends.
What is a cool-down, and how important is it in aerobic activity?
After any aerobic activity, the blood is pooled in the extremities, and the heartrate is elevated. The purpose of the cool-down is to bring the heartrate down to near-normal and to get the blood circulating freely back to the heart. Stopping abruptly could result in fainting or place undue stress on the heart. The cool-down should also include stretching to help relax the muscles which worked so hard during the activity. The cool-down stretches also increase flexibility, and might help to prevent DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) although this has not been proven.