In the gym
Fiona Hayes

Gym-based activities - such as studio classes, weight training and using gym machines - offer the opportunity to work on your overall fitness or concentrate on a few problem areas, under the watchful eye of a qualified fitness instructor.

All aspects of fitness can be worked on in a gym


All aspects of fitness can be worked on in a gym in a controlled manner following a programme that caters for gradual improvement in strength, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and motor fitness.

All ages and fitness levels are catered for and improvements can be measured and the programme can be changed to suit the individual.

What's on offer?

Aerobics classes, or aerobic dance, are structured, teacher-led classes designed to work on all the components of fitness. Various different styles of aerobic dance exist, many of them using steps from the world of pure dance, while incorporating more traditional fitness exercises.

Fitness gyms will have qualified instructors on hand to teach you how to do the exercises safely, how to progress and what type of exercise is suitable for you. Many now also have personal trainers who will write you a training programme specific to your needs and supervise your progress on that programme.

Is it for you?

Anyone, no matter how unfit, can benefit from a fitness programme written and supervised by a trained instructor. Check that your instructor is qualified to recognised standards. For advice, take a look at the Register of Exercise Professionals.


Beginners who are new to exercise should look for an aerobics class suitable for their level of fitness and expertise. The club or the instructor will be able to advise on this.

Clothing and equipment

Advice on suitable clothing for classes or the gym can be obtained from the centre or the instructor. For example, many gyms with hardwood floors prefer non-black soled shoes in their studios. All other equipment will usually be provided by the centre and included in the fees you pay.

This article was last medically reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks in September 2005.
First published in May 2001.

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