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While websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may help keep people connected with family and friends, a recent study conducted by psychologists at the University of Pittsburgh found that the more time young adults spend on social media, the more likely they actually are to feel socially isolated.
Enter group exercise, where in today’s society the group aspect may be just as important as the exercise.
As inherently social creatures, people have always sought out a sense of true community and connection with people. However, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine involving 1,787 adults between the ages of 19 to 32, they aren’t finding it while staring at their laptops or scrolling through their smartphones, despite spending so much time doing so. Says Brian A. Primack, lead author of the study, “Modern life tends to compartmentalize us instead of bringing us together. While it may seem that social media presents opportunities to fill that social void … this study suggests that it may not be the solution people were hoping for.”
Group exercise, however, actually may be. Today’s Group X instructors are a modern breed of trainers who are knowledgeable, engaging and well-versed in creating positive member experiences. Instead of relying on machines and technology to drive classes, they know how to authentically connect people with one another. It is these connections that will truly develop powerful group exercise classes. And, perhaps just as importantly, powerful group experiences.
Anastasia Alexander, national director of sales and marketing for Smart Fitness and the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers, says that “Instructors and the classes they provide fill a sociological void that I feel has been created by too much reliance on electronic communications. No one calls anymore. We text, email, IM, etc., and I strongly believe it has impacted the way we function in social situations. Group X creates communities, and although complimentary classes do not directly generate revenue [for a health club], they indirectly generate sales and absolutely drive retention and referrals. Both are invaluable to a fitness business.”
Club owners should recognize both the physical and sociological value in Group X classes by investing in not only equipment but also team members who have the special skill sets needed to create positive communal experiences. Connecting happy members with other happy members through real-world experiences will keep them coming back for more.
Krista Popowych is the global director of education for Keiser. For more information call 800.888.7009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.