Today's fitness classes have taken a turn for the higher intensity type. Not only are the classes geared to up the notch quite a bit, they also, unfortunately are causing many injuries. Much to the dismay of many fitness professionals, there is an ever increasing popularity towards a haphazard approach to fitness in some exercise classes. As long as the participants are sweating, feeling "a burn", and have untold soreness over the next few days, then the class is deemed a "great" class!
Neither sweat, "burning", or soreness is indicative of an effective workout. Nor a safe one. You may get all three variables in a good workout, or you may not. Most professionals cringe at the influx of bootcamp style classes with no regard to safety of certain movements. In many classes, there are beginners doing advanced moves which they have no business doing. There should be a general progression for exercise and movements.
A popular buzzword now is the "challenge" class. There seems to be many different definitions for this type of class but there does seem to be an underlying idea of going as intense as one can with seemingly little regard to proper form. Sure, the instructor can bark out instructions but who is really going over to the participant and manually correcting form? Just going to some fitness class websites and seeing the pictures of classes in action is amazing. These are the pictures used to advertise the classes and the form on most of the participants is horrendous and very risky!
Group classes can be a fantastic way to get motivated to workout. An injury is a quick way to dampen that motivation. Not only can motivation be decreased, so can self esteem. Witness some of the "Biggest Loser" type mentality in some of the classes and you will know what I mean.
Of course there are fantastic group classes out there. Due to the tremendous popularity of the high intensity type classes though, it is important to weed through and find those that are truly appropriate for each individual's health status. If the fitness industry cannot monitor the classes better than it is up to the consumer to educate themselves instead of putting blind trust in a class title.