Are you ready to get your body moving, but nervous to hit the gym alone? Whether you feel insecure about your skill level or weight, or just need some extra encouragement, here is the ultimate solution to getting that exercise in: try a group fitness class! Below are seven rewarding benefits of working out in a class setting, rather than going at it alone:

  1. You are surrounded by people of all skill levels, shapes, and sizes. Regardless of what the group fitness class may be, newcomers are generally welcomed and even recruited. Working out alongside women of all skill levels creates a laidback, carefree environment—everyone is just there to sweat and have fun while doing it. No competition involved!
  2. You gain and maintain motivation. You’re all in this together. The professional trainer leading your class and all of your “teammates” are there to encourage you to keep moving. You’ll inevitably form a bond with your class, and they’ll expect your return each week. When you take a group fitness class, people notice when you’re absent, and that will usually help motivate you to show up.
  3. In group fitness, you feel a sense of community. You’ll get to know your other classmates—so much that you might be meeting outside of class to exchange nutritious recipes and receive daily support. SWEAT Chicago believes that “what starts out as a ‘good job’ or a high five on a job well done can easily turn into a friendship.”
  4. You learn proper form — from a professional. Even though you’re in a group setting, a certified instructor is there to correct and guide each individual to success. Proper form allows you to get the greatest benefit from your excercises, and helps prevent injury.
  5. You’ll more likely fit exercise into your busy schedule. Don’t have enough time to exercise? Most group fitness classes are scheduled in one-hour increments and keep the same time slot every week. With a reliable schedule, fitness becomes routine. Gyms usually offer classes at every time of the day—morning, afternoon, night—so you can commit to whichever time works best for you.
  6. You can choose the right class for you. Are you training for a marathon? Looking to gain muscle, or lose weight? Maybe you’re just looking for an outlet that supports healthy, active fun. Your local gym will most likely offer a variety of different classes, designed to achieve specific exercise goals.
  7. And of course, you’ll have a blast! You might just forget that you’re exercising. Group fitness classes like Zumba make you feel like you’re having a dance party with your friends. Even when there’s dumbbells and yoga mats involved, chances are there will be plenty of smiles, laughs, and high fives to keep you going.If you’re ready to get active, check out your local gym and see what group fitness classes they offer. Don’t feel pressured to commit right away. Talk to a trainer or other members of the gym to see what it’s like. Maybe sit in on a class, or take a chance and try one out. Recruit a friend to try out a class with you. There’s never a need to feel insecure while improving your physical and mental health. Your professional instructor and workout buddies are there to motivate you and create a fun, relaxed environment that’ll keep you movin’ and groovin’.