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Do Classes at Gyms Help to Lose Weight?

Any fitness class is a good choice if you have trouble finding motivation to exercise. If you’re trying to lose weight, however, choosing the right class will make a big difference. Some classes are good for muscle definition and relaxation but don’t offer too much in terms of calorie burning. Since you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat, choosing classes that burn as many calories as possible is your best bet to shed the pounds.

Aerobic Classes

Aerobic classes are most effective when trying to lose weight. These classes offer the highest calorie burn per session. Group indoor cycling and kickboxing are at the top of the list, burning over 700 calories per hour. While regular yoga doesn’t burn too many calories, Bikram Yoga, or “hot yoga,” is just the opposite: A 60-minute class can burn up 1,000 calories.

Lighter Activities

If you’re extremely overweight or have a medical condition, you might have to start with lighter exercise. Classes that don’t raise your heart rate too much or that are easier on the joints are good choices. An example is water aerobics, which is good for seniors or obese people. A 185-lb. person burns about 350 calories an hour doing water aerobics. Pilates, stretching and low-impact aerobics also stress the body less and burn fewer calories than aerobic classes.

Working Out Alone

Although gym classes are good for weight loss, so are other physical activities. For example, an hour of moderate exercise on a stationary bike burns 520 calories for a 155-lb. person. The same person burns 670 calories running cross-country and 446 calories hiking. If you get bored easily, it might be a good idea to alternate classes at the gym with some outdoor activities.

Deciding Factors

How much weight you lose doing gym classes depends on a number of factors. One of the most important is your weight. The more you weigh, the more calories you burn. For example, a 125-lb. person burns 420 calories doing step aerobics for an hour, but a 185-lb. person burns 620 calories. Another factor is how well you perform the exercises. If you just follow the general flow of the activities, you burn some calories. However, if you bend, use your arms and hop and jump emphatically while following the instructor, the calorie burn increases.