Social Fitness

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The demand for group exercise programs has soared in recent times the world over and the trend is set to continue thanks mainly to the variety on offer to the public.

Walk into your local fitness centre and you will likely have a choice of many group programs to choose – from the traditional step aerobics to martial arts, dance-based programs like Zumba, to Cross training and bootcamps, to small group personal training sessions. The variety is enormous.

These programs are exploding everywhere making it a win-win result for the public and the fitness industry alike.

Group exercise programs offer people a socially enjoyable environment that is easy on the pocket, while making participants feel they have received a great workout. It makes fitness more affordable and achievable.

The Most Popular Group Activities

  1. Bootcamp/ Cross training classes The popularity of bootcamp and cross training classes such as Cross Fit is reflected in the demand for more outdoor bootcamp-type events or obstacle events where participants crawl through mud, clamber over brick walls, all in the name of fitness. While this type of fitness class is not for everyone, its popularity is soaring and it is here to stay for some time yet.
  2. Small Group PT Sessions More and more people are turning to small group sessions with a personal trainer as an affordable way to receive personalized fitness. It makes good sense. The session consists of no more than 6 participants who all receive individual attention from a qualified trainer. Everyone is instructed on correct exercise technique making it a safe method to improve fitness. Joining a small group PT class means you receive all the benefits of a 1-on-1 PT session at a discounted rate, and in a very sociable setting.
  3. Body weight Suspension Training The TRX Suspension training method is big business in city fitness centres around the world. Using straps suspended from the ceiling or a steel frame, participants perform exercises using body weight and gravity to create resistance at a level to suit individual ability. It is an effective way to build muscular strength without adding bulk, making it very appealing for many women. Suspension training also promotes core stability because the abdominals, glutes, hamstrings and back muscles are utilized with every move performed.
  4. Dance-Based Classes In recent years, traditional aerobic class programs have been given a boost with the inclusion of dance-based routines. Zumba is the most popular closely followed by hip-hop. Street dance forms such as Bokwa is proving popular in some countries. Ballet-based classes (called Barre programs) are also becoming a new trend for 2014 with classes in the U.S. and Australia proving popular among both men and women.

Deciding Which Is Best For You

  • Choose a class that suits your physical abilities. There are classes that involve high-energy, high-impact movement that may not be applicable for someone with pelvic floor weakness, or arthritic conditions. Low impact classes such as aqua aerobics, and small group PT sessions are a better option for women with special conditions.
  • When you attend your first class/session introduce yourself to the trainer and make them aware that you have never before participated in their fitness class. By mentioning this, your trainer will outline what you can expect and at what level of intensity you can aim for in the session. Your instructor will likely also keep an eye on your progress throughout the session to ensure you are getting a safe and worthwhile workout.
  • Know Your Instructor. Make sure your class instructor is fully qualified. Ask to see his/her qualifications/certificates. If they are legit, they will happily welcome your request. Don’t feel embarrassed about asking either. At the end of the day you want to be certain that when you take their class/program you will be exercising in a safe environment by a highly professional fitness expert. It pays to ask!
  • Know Your Limitations. If you don’t like high-impact exercises such as running or jumping, or the thought of dance-style classes may be daunting, then try something else. It may be that a small group PT session would best suit your needs. Once your fitness and confidence improves you may want to try something else.
  • Shop Around. With so many classes to choose from nowadays, fitness centres are competing for your dollar. Check out the fitness outlets in your area and choose the program that suits your needs as well as your budget.

Fitness everywhere is a booming business because people of all ages are realizing the benefits of leading a healthier lifestyle.

Never before has exercising been so easy for the consumer. The plethora of classes, programs and personal training studios provides a fitness solution for just about everyone.

There are many benefits to joining an exercise group – the camaraderie and meeting new friends is an attraction for many. Classes can be fun or challenging but never boring.

The only hard part for you is deciding which class to take!