ymca group exercise participants and friends celebrating completing a zumba class

On the journey to better health and wellness, figuring out the when, where, why and how of exercising can be a daunting task. But group exercise classes can take care of many of these variables for you.

Just scroll through our group exercise schedules, pick a class, and show up! Group exercise classes offer a great way to begin your workout routine, mix up your current regimen, and deliver a fun and social experience.

If you are new to the experience, here are three things you can expect to discover in the group exercise studio.

1. You are not alone.

While working out on your own will burn calories, the environment of group fitness promotes camaraderie, accountability, and support among all the class participants. Each member of every class was a newbie once!

While your first class can have a bit of a learning curve, keep coming back. After a few classes, the faces become familiar, and your own motivation to keep working out increases. Whatever class format you choose, the movements will come easier after a couple workouts, so be brave and give all our classes a try. With so much variety, from strength training classes like LesMills BodyPump to cardio classes like Zumba, there is something for everyone.

2. You can do hard things.

It’s easy to talk yourself out of pushing through the last couple of reps on a weight machine or the last five minutes of a run on the treadmill when you are working out solo. In a group fitness class, however, you have plenty of external motivation to amplify your own internal determination. The instructor will provide encouragement as well as form correction and verbal cuing to help you master the exercises and movements quickly, so your workout is safe, effective and FUN.

Don’t be surprised if you work harder and burn more calories than you do in an individual workout. The time just might feel like it’s passing faster, too!

3. You can enjoy exercise.

Combating boredom can be a major barrier to both continuing and maximizing our fitness journey. We must vary our routines to not only avoid ambivalence to exercise, but also to prevent fitness plateaus.

Group classes are great for switching up our exercise routine and preventing workout stagnation. The Y's group fitness instructors bring fresh, new, and fun material to class to keep your mind interested and your muscles working hard. With the music, choreography, and exercises already planned, all that is left for you to do is give it your all.

ymca group exercise participants having fun and giving it their all

With 100s of classes offered at 24 YMCA locations across Missouri and Illinois, you’re bound to find a group exercise class that can change your life. Here are just a few things our ymca members learned about themselves in group exercise:


"At the time I joined the Belleville Y, I joined to find fun classes and help aid me in my weight loss journey, but what I didn’t realize is just how much I would treasure the friendships that I found within these classes. Six months after I joined our 27 yr old daughter passed away unexpectedly from a stroke. As you can imagine the devastation my family was going through. These beautiful women went up and beyond to comfort me and make sure I was okay. It’s been two years and these women are still very much in my life and we go from Y to Y trying new classes together, having lunch dates, and enjoying each other’s friendship. Being a part of the Y community is so beyond just me trying to lose weight, it’s become my family." - Debbie, East Belleville YMCA 


"The Y has changed my life for the better! I have met so many wonderful new friends by joining the Y and showing up for class. There are many varieties of classes, you will find one that fits your lifestyle. The staff greets you with a smile and a friendly "hello" the moment I walk in the door. I feel safe here and welcomed. The teachers really care about you and will help you with the proper mechanics so you can do the exercises to help make your body stronger. Everyone has the same goal, to have fun and to maintain a healthy body. Everyone at the Y really cares and has been part of my life daily." - Patricia, South City YMCA


"The Y has given me a sense of community in the classes I take weekly, and gives me a good place to release steam from the day. Always a positive experience!" - Jennifer, South County YMCA


"The staff member ask me some questions about myself and then suggested some classes. So I joined and what a wonderful experience it has been. All of the members so kind to me. I loved every class I tried. The class teachers are great. I have been at the Y for about 3 years now. I am here almost every day from about 8:00 until 11:00 am. I have made so many friends. This truly is my second family."  - Prudence, East Belleville YMCA


"I joined the Y because I love fitness and working out! Every week, I look forward to dancing my heart out in the Wednesday night ZUMBA classes, taught by Dawn! The instructors are so kind and encouraging! Coming to the Y every week really does put a smile on my face!" - Kristen, O'Fallon Missouri YMCA


"I was told by a friend to join and get the low income membership. I was hesitant because I didn’t think I’d go and it would be a waste due to my anxiety. I pushed myself to join and pushed myself to go to one class last December, MX4 with Kate! I was so welcomed by her and the other members that I’ve been going to 5:30 classes every morning ever since! I love the people, community and amazing classes that help me overcome my anxiety and be in even better shape! Thank you so very much!" - Kelcey, O'Fallon Illinois YMCA