Trends In Fitness Classes

But as much as her senior participants love the social aspect, they also want to learn about the effects of their workouts. “The key is information; they like to hear it,” she says, explaining that she includes instruction on which muscles are being worked by a particular exercise and tips for improving balance. She also encourages the use of the facility’s exercise equipment and weight room to keep participants seeing progress from their efforts. However, Diaz’s most important piece of advice remains, “Keep them together, keep them happy, keep them laughing.”

Harnessing The Power Of Fusion

For Becky Franklin, director of group exercise at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa in Houston, Texas, information is the key to making an exercise class popular. Over the past 16 years, she has seen her facility’s population change from older consumers to those in their 40s, and these time-crunched participants want to get their strength training, cardio and flexibility work, and then move on to the next commitment.

One of Franklin’s most popular classes is Gyrokinesis, described as “a workout that uses a series of physical, rhythmic movements and breaths that can help shift one into a new physical, mental and spiritual place.” Gyrokinesis is the stool- and mat-based version of a series of exercises first developed on a machine known as a Gyrotonic. What the Reformer is to Pilates, the Gyrotonic is to Gyrokinesis. The comparison is apt because participants find that there are many Pilates-like benefits to the class. Franklin likens it to a mixture of “dance, tai chi, yoga and gymnastics all in one.” She predicts that Gyrokinesis “will take the market by storm like Pilates. By the next year or so, everyone will know about it.”

Franklin also finds that all types of fusion classes are well-attended, including favorites like Drill Max and Cardioga, which allow participants to address two or more training goals at once. “People are wanting to be smarter with their time,” she says, explaining that teachers who plan fusion classes need to be sure every minute is filled with an activity that addresses strength, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility or some other goal. “If you’re meeting your goal, you’re going to come back,” she says.

She has seen a great demand for programs that draw on all of the facility’s services to help participants train with their peers for personal goals, like triathlons. Even the youngest set is getting involved, with a TriKids class piloted to help them train for a mini-triathlon, and a “kid yoga” class under way for more than a year.

Franklin sees this as an important development, especially in a country plagued by rising childhood obesity rates. She believes exercise and recreation facilities will rise to address this problem. “Within ten years, I predict that most facilities will have a studio just for youth,” she says. And if the programs help the participants form positive relationships with exercise and each other, it is likely they will be exercising for decades to come.

Jennifer Patterson Lorenzetti is a writer, editor, speaker and owner of Hilltop Communications based in Centerville, Ohio. She can be reached via e-mail at jcpatterson@prodigy.net.

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