With a growing number of health clubs and independent studios in the United States, fitness instructors face increased competition to attracting and retaining the over 20 million participants engaged in group exercise classes. In response, many fitness professionals have capitalized on the concept of “experiential exercise,” which, according to an article published in IDEA Fitness Journal, elevates a basic fitness class to a multi-sensory, social experience that clients look forward to before each session.
The benefits of experiential exercise may include improved client satisfaction and retention, greater instructor retention, and an influx of new business.
Treat the welfare and dignity of participants as the top priority. Allow participants’ need for a positive and worthwhile experience, rather than the presenters’ need for dramatic effect, to guide decision-making about experiential exercises. If an impromptu group is formed, select activities that are appropriate for a beginning group stage.
One of the more popular examples of experiential exercise is Zumba®, whose slogan is, “ditch the workout, join the party.” Flashing lights, disco balls, thumping music and enthused instructors contribute to an emotional intensity that transcends a simple workout.