Group fitness is a major part of the modern fitness tapestry and contributes to many people being consistent with their wellness endeavors. The classes run a gamut: Step, HIIT, Zumba. Boot Camp, Cycling, Yoga, Pilates, Water Aerobics, BodyAttack, BodyPump and many more. This is key as it allows the individual to choose a modality or two that is a) most suitable to them and b) allows for a high(er) degree of consistency to be attained. These classes are a draw for those who might not be experienced enough with exercise theory and practices to exercise on their own. The community dynamic can help one to adhere to plans for improving their health.
Motivation does not always come from one’s self. If everyone could be motivated enough to eat well on their own, sleep well on their own, or to exercise on their own, then the health and wellness industry would be in a strait. Fortunately, or unfortunately, take your pick, many people do not do take on their fitness and wellness endeavors from a solitary standpoint. Group fitness is the impetus to being consistent, healthwise, for a good number of people. It is the ability to appeal to the need for community that makes the group fitness class such an important aspect of the fitness industry landscape.
One of the intangibles (?) of the group fitness class is that the combined (internal) energy being generated is medium that buoys everyone’s performance. The group leader knows the participants. The participants, pretty much, know the other participants. Some of them are inspired by those who are more physically capable. Some find camaraderie with each other as they endeavor to complete the class. Each participant puts forth their own effort which does circulate throughout the group and provides motivation to the other participants.
Cost of group fitness classes is one factor to be considered; time is another factor. Group Fitness classes are often provided as part of the fitness center membership package. Also, (some) community centers may offer some of these same classes. The cost may be prohibitive to some who may benefit most from said classes, either from a monetary of temporal standpoint. Many people who may exhibit the most need for regular fitness activities may be unable to access said activity. Some may work more than one job which would indicate that financial resources or availability of time could be a constraining. Also, another layer of inhibited access would be if these classes are not within distance or if transportation is not accessible / available.
There have been initiatives in other countries to provide fitness related classes to a wider demographic. In Brazil, “To combat rising obesity rates, the Brazilian government created the Academia das Cidades program, or City Academies, to give residents free access to fitness facilities and instructors. A lack of physical activity has been associated with several health conditions, such as hypertension, high blood pressure and diabetes. Increased activity levels can help prevent these and other diseases, which can lead to better overall health. City Academies consist of free physical activity classes offered by trained physical educators every weekday morning and late afternoon in a community setting. Although not perfect, it could be a guideline for other countries to adopt a similar program. Healthcare could be greatly augmented by adopting such a strategy.
So much can be done to reimagine health care in (modern) society. Fitness is typically viewed a something that is out of reach or uninspiring to the ‘regular’ person. This is because many are burdened with the responsibilities of daily living or preoccupations with acts that contribute to ungraceful aging. Perhaps fitness could be reframed in a way that puts one in a mindset to be more proactive in their own self-care. Group fitness, the motivational energy of the collective, can provide a groundwork that can keep one on a more consistent track to taking steps to ‘control’ those life-impacting factors.