Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fitness Programs for Special Groups

A new trend in fitness is the targeting of fitness programs for different groups of people. Rather than a “one size fits all” approach that simply looks to provide general fitness benefits without taking into account the particular needs of the participants (such as an indoor cycling class), these new fitness classes are being offered with particular goals and needs in mind. Here are a few examples of specialty fitness classes you may want to look for in your area, depending on your needs.

English: A senior citizen at legs exercise
A senior citizen at legs exercise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Senior Adult Programs: 
As the U.S. population continues to age and more of us are living longer, there are more older people who would like to take part in structured fitness activities in order to keep themselves healthier. But the average senior citizen probably isn’t going to be interested in participating in a high impact aerobics or pole dancing class, so more classes are being designed to meet their fitness goals, as well as their tastes. Even popular mainstream classes such as Zumba (a dance-based class featuring salsa and merengue music) are adapting themselves to provide a version for senior citizens. (The senior version is known as “Zumba Gold.”)

Pregnant Women:
For years doctors have recommended that pregnant women continue to get some type of physical exercise throughout almost the entire term of pregnancy. But pregnancy requires that certain motions and exercises be avoided, and that the intensity of the workout not be too great. Traditional fitness classes simply aren’t structured in a way to be safe or effective for pregnant women. Fortunately, there are classes that take the particular needs of pregnant women into account. These classes are commonly offered at local community centers and YMCAs - and occasionally at some gyms and fitness centers.

Children’s and Teen’s Fitness Programs:
Obesity rates among children and teenagers are at historically high levels. Kids don’t play the way they did in years past (with groups of kids from the neighborhood getting together after school and on the weekends), and due to budget cuts, many children no longer have physical fitness classes available to them at school. An increasing number of fitness professionals have taken note of this trend and have created programs tailored to overweight and obese children.

English: CORONADO, Calif. (Jan. 14, 2009) Fitn...
Fitness instructor Linda Walker leads Department of Defense civilian employees during an aerobathon. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Damien Horvath/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Workplace Fitness Programs:
As health care insurance costs continue to increase, employers are constantly on the lookout for ways to save on their premiums and to help their employees pay less on their own shares of the premiums. These programs can take many different forms. For example, an employer might wish to offer a group fitness class in a conference room within the office, or perhaps organize a few coordinated times during the day when employees get up from their desks and do some light stretching or movement exercises. Even sponsoring a group walk over the lunch hour is a great way for employees to slowly and easily get themselves in better shape. Introducing workplace fitness programs can also help to improve overall employee wellness, which can reduce costly employee absentee days due to illness.

Specialty fitness programs are a great way for people with specific needs to find a class that they can feel comfortable participating in, and which can help improve their health.

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