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Future of Group Exercise (Post-03) “Micro-Classes”

Posted Jul 28 2008 8:14pm

Today, most group fitness classes aresixtyminutes long. Some indoor cycling classes operate within a45-minute format. In recent years30-minute “power” or “express” classes have also become more popular. But in the future, class times will get shorter and shorter.

How short? Think anywhere from 10-minutes to the ‘30-second’ class.

Now, we already know that short bouts of physical activity throughout the day (however long) is effective in achieving health-related benefits. We hear fitness professionals talk about simple ways people can exercise at work, at their desk, while watching TV, at the grocery store while standing in line… and so on. So why not officially put similar classes on the group fitness schedule?

We are seeing the beginnings of these shorter formats onYouTube. On most video websites (such as YouTube), users are limited to a maximum of10-minutesof video. Fitness professionals have already started to upload mini-classes and fitness workouts, accordingly. Granted, some videos are more effective than others, others just pure rubbish. But it won’t be long before the ideal 10-minute design is perfected.Les Mills where are you?

Exergames (video games + exercise), such asNintendo Wii, have also shown that players can reach moderate levels of intensity by just getting their game on! In fact, games likeDance Dance RevolutionandEyeToy: Kinetichave given a players a sufficient rise in heart rate within 3 to 10 minute bouts of game play!

A new concept is also inspiring the idea of shorter classes. Fellow fitness colleaguesScott & Angie Tousignanthave recently created the format calledTwittercise. As most of you know,Twitteris a microblogging platform where people write about what they are doing, at the time they are doing it, then submitting these thoughts to the web. (Think instant-messaging to the world.) Twittercise is based on the thinking that people who have a few seconds to ‘tweet’ something, must have a few seconds to exercise. The idea is still in its infancy, but it has certainly caused interesting convesations in the ‘Twitterverse’.

Whether it’s a 30-second class, a 3-minute class, or a 30-minute class, shorter classes will eventually prevail. The shorter design may inspire non-traditional ways of exercising, but the format will definitely reach newer audiences. It may not be for everyone at every studio (especially your hard-core fitness enthusiasts), but those whose time is inconsistently spread throughout the day will appreciate the guidance and support of these new kinds ofmicro-classes.

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