Feature Article - March 2011
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Fit To Be Tried

Top Trends in Fitness Programming

By Deborah L. Vence

Group Exercise/The Buddy System

Based on IHRSA's member census of 3,024 clubs in the United States and Canada, Poppler said, the 10 most commonly offered group exercise-related programs are:

  • Step/bench aerobics
  • High-impact aerobics
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Group cycling
  • Group strength training
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Aquatic exercise
  • Cardio-kickboxing or similar
  • Dance

"Successful group exercise programming strikes a balance between the 'tried and true' and 'hot and new' classes. Incorporate aerobics and group strength along with self-defense, dance and music-inspired classes into your group exercise schedule," Poppler said.

"Group exercise programming is popular again due to the fact that there are some great providers of specific programming that builds in more excitement, isn't so dependent on the club's instructor, and because people are moving back to socially based forms of exercise, not just running mindlessly on a treadmill," she said.

According to IHRSA's survey, group exercise programming is experiencing phenomenal growth. The survey indicated that group exercise—both traditional aerobics and unconventional new classes—are as popular as ever among health club members. Group exercise classes with the largest growth rates are cardio-kickboxing, yoga, high-impact aerobics, dance style classes and strength training classes.