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For those starting out on the path of healthier living, initiating a fitness regime is often one of the biggest challenges they will face. Even for those of us who exercise regularly, working out can often be the first thing to go when trying to manage work/life balance.
Current guidelines1 suggest that to improve cardiovascular health over 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity should be accumulated each week, alongside resistance training. Studio Cycling is an increasingly popular form of cardiovascular exercise that can be conducted in a group exercise environment. Group fitness has been shown to increase retention rates in new exercise routines.
A study at Loughborough University in the UK2 assessed the effectiveness of an 8-week studio cycling program (RPM™, Les Mills International Ltd) group fitness program to improve participants’ cardio-metabolic health. The participants were overweight and physically inactive prior to the study.
Each person in the group had their fitness levels and cardiovascular disease risk factors recorded before and after the study to track any changes that occurred. Over an 8-week period, participants were required to take part in studio cycling sessions three times per week. Each session lasted 20-50 minutes. Given that the group had previously been physically inactive, they were introduced to the program gradually which involved:
At the end of the 8-week period, the participants’ fitness statistics were recorded again. The following improvements were observed:
These study results illustrate the health benefits that regular studio cycling provides, especially for those who are embarking on a new exercise regime. They also importantly show that a gradual introduction to a new exercise program is key to improving member retention - participants in this study attended more than a 95% of the prescribed workouts.
With typical fitness program drop-out rates as high as 60-80%, this form of group exercise can be said to not only improve physical wellbeing, it encourages a new love of exercise. The high compliance rates indicate that participants’ mindsets moved from feeling they had to exercise to wanting to exercise.
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