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Get fit together

Posted in Clubs

The impact of group exercise on club member retention and personal health.

In the last five years, one in every three deaths in the USA was attributed to Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). The latest statistics have also revealed that 60% of Americans don’t take part in regular physical activity and 25% are not physically active at all. This problem is not unique to the USA.  Unfortunately we’re seeing similar patterns and statistics worldwide. 

 

On a positive note, research tells us that statistics like these could be significantly improved if more people simply started exercising on a regular basis.

 

Physical Activity Guidelines

 

The American College of Sport and the United States Department of Health and Human Services has developed what’s now known as the ‘Physical Activity Guidelines’.  These recommend that adults should be engaging in:

 

  • Cardiovascular exercise of moderate intensity for 30-60 minutes, 5 times per week or
  • Vigorous intensity for 20-60 minutes at least 3 days per week
    or
  • A combination of these moderate/ vigorous activities 3-5 days per week

 

The guidelines also recommend that people introduce some strength and flexibility training to their workouts. These include:

 

  • Full body muscular strength routines twice a week
  • Flexibility exercises 1-2 days per week

 

A Nielsen survey1 of over 3000 participants of group fitness classes around the world highlighted that more than 85% of class members visit their club twice a week, specifically to engage in group classes. 43% of members visit their clubs 4 times per week for this purpose.

 

 

 

As a result of this carefully-managed group fitness programme, all participants had become regular exercisers.

Nielsen Survey

 

 

 

Les Mills believe that group fitness classes help enable your members to fall in love with fitness and want to exercise regularly.  The result of this change in attitude towards exercise - from feeling they have to exercise to wanting to exercise -  means they are much less likely to leave your gym if they are participating in these types of activities.

 

 

 

 

 

 Download the infographic - PDF 

 

 

 

The Powerful Effect of Group Exercise

 

To find out what impact group fitness has on exercisers, a study by Dr Jinger Gottschall of Penn State University involved developing a group fitness regime which mimicked the Physical Activity Guidelines for Fitness.  At the heart of the research was a desire to draw a conclusion on the effectiveness of group exercise as a programming tool to help on-board members.                                               

 

25 sedentary (but otherwise healthy) adults (15 women and 10 men) between the ages of 25-40 completed a 30-week group exercise programme. This involved participants undertaking:

 

  • A 6-week familiarisation period (where fitness classes were introduced gradually and time spent exercising increased progressively to reduce injury risks as well as to optimise adhesion to the programme)
  • A 12-week block of 6 group fitness classes every week (3 cardiovascular, 2 strength, and 1 flexibility)
  • A 12-week block of 7 group fitness classes per week (4 cardiovascular, 2 strength, and 1 flexibility)

 

The participants were assessed both prior to, mid-way through, and after the 30-week exercise programme. At the end of the programme, each study participant showed significant reductions in areas such as body mass, fat mass, and cholesterol.  A gradual introduction to group exercise classes also enabled the participants’ confidence and capability to increase week on week. 

 

As a result of this carefully-managed group fitness programme, all participants had become regular exercisers.

 

How you can help your members fall in love with fitness

 

If gaining and /or maintaining member numbers is important to you, group fitness is an ideal way to engage with and retain your members. As a global industry we often focus on those members that want to work out versus those that need some help to fall in love with fitness and become regular exercisers.

 

To introduce or to improve your group classes, you can:

 

  • Ensure that group fitness exercises are offered at your club and that class content is updated regularly
  • Ensure there is a good variety of group fitness classes covering cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training
  • Be inclusive and support your members by starting slowly. Develop induction plans that allow your members to join a class for 20 minutes, rather than the whole hour for the first few weeks
  • Speak to your members regularly throughout their membership – are there more classes you could be running or ones that aren’t well attended? Find out why this is. Perhaps your instructors need additional training or the timing doesn’t suit enough people
  • If you’re running new group exercise classes get your team to work together. Inform your members in existing classes about the new classes, their format and benefits. Ask your reception team to inform people as they come in or leave the gym too.  Personal trainers on the gym floor should also be using group fitness as a tool for their new clients as part of new induction plans
  • Your timetable is the most viewed page on your website but have you made a provision online for members to make suggestions about new classes or alternative times? This will make feedback easier for your members and for you to review. It’s essential that any new classes are profiled here too so people are aware something new is coming

 

Les Mills delivers a variety of group fitness classes that provide cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training for your members. Fresh class content is provided every three months to motivate and support engagement of both instructors and members which in turn reduces the attrition rate of your members. Our tried and tested group exercise classes deliver real physical results, including supporting the fight against CVD.

 

Provide your details below to download our Les Mills Get Fit Together Toolkit.

 

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