My First Group Exercise Class

alyssa-smallby Alyssa Wei, Rye Y Student Volunteer

I am honored to say that my first ever group exercise class in my eighteen years of living was a short week ago, right in the Group Exercise Room at the Rye Y. To be quite honest, I can’t even say when my first class would have been had I not volunteered at the Y.

I am an athlete. On a given day I may run anywhere from four to six miles, and then do a short circuit workout or lift a few weightsㅡnothing extreme and all very home accessible. So when my supervisor asked if I wanted to take a group exercise class at the Y, I put on my brave face (and a smile, of course) and said “Yes, why not?” After all, it was a new experience confronting me; and as an athlete, I don’t back down from a challenge.

I took a Pilates class after consulting with a few of my friends. I went in having no expectation, with my internship’s agenda in mind. So I made a few observations as I began the class:

-Members all seemed genuinely happy as they walked in and set up their mats

-There were a lot of people, but not a crowded feel

-I felt comfortable in an environment I had never been in

As the class continued, I began to see why Pilates was most definitely an exercise. I was sweating and shaking and engaging new muscles I didn’t even know I could target in my arms.

As an athlete, trained on the importance of recovery and strengthening, I was delighted to wake up the next morning with a tang of soreness in my abdominal region, slightly more soreness in my glutes, and most definitely a very sore feeling in my back and shoulders. I can’t even explain how happy I was.

Although Pilates was my first and (so far) only group exercise class at the Rye Y, I can say with confidence that the class encompasses the mission of the Y, and creates a welcoming environment for new and returning participants. A workout can be productive and fun, and the Rye Y is definitely more than just a gym. That is the overwhelming message that I have learned as a volunteer and as a member participating in the Y’s activities.

And because of that, I look forward to many more classes to come, and the Rye Y will always hold a special place in my heart as my first ever group exercise class.