Fitness classes are beneficial in more ways than one



By Mary Austin

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A fresh pair of kicks and a gut-blasting routine had me up at 7:45—class not until 11:15— for a jaunt to the gym, a hop on the elliptical and an hour-long Pilates class.

This was last winter, when my roommate and I became fitness crazed.

I’ve always gone through different obsessions—running, yoga— and I wouldn’t say that I was sedentary at the time, but I was no regular at the JC.

Beyond burning calories, the workouts put my stress and hunger on reset; I felt calm, yet energized through the day.

As spring semester ended, the endorphin junkie in me calmed down and the routine fell out of place.

Yet, one thing wouldn’t budge: my love for Pilates.

Over the summer I ordered a $10 Pilates DVD and have probably gotten more mileage out of it than I did at the park during my running days.

The Wikipedia entry on Pilates credits Joseph Pilates, who used the moves to train German soldiers in the early 20th century.

Mr. Pilates believed that his strengthening and toning exercises—which focus on the core and alignment— developed a strong body and mind.

I concur. The DVD gives me no excuses: no driving and no schedule conflicts. I spend 40 minutes a day whittling my waist like Miley Cyrus and co.

The ratio of effort to results is also a plus. I actually have fun throughout the practice.

Yet, with any DVD, the excitement has waned. I miss the class.

Attending a fitness class ups my game. I’m not very competitive, but most people will tell you that they perform better in the presence of others.

Going with a friend made it even more social.

The class also allows for a variety of exercises— if you go regularly.

What’s more, the instructor is present and has likely picked out a good mix of tunes to carry you through until stretch time.

If I weren’t living in Louisville, you would probably see me in class. For now, the DVD is like a broken record that still sings a sweet song for my abs.

For a work assignment, I’m about to brave a spinning class.

Maybe cycling will become my new obsession. Maybe not. But when I find myself in a fitness rut (especially an inactive one), I know I can find something in hitting the mat, the machine or the pavement.

And you can never underestimate the motivating powers of new gym shoes.