Community fitness is often associated with older generations. There are retirement complexes and older communities where seniors gather together for light exercise each day. The sessions are as much about getting out and socializing as they are about staying fit and healthy. But, there is a growing trend in younger generations to turn to others for support as they exercise. Community driven fitness was touted at an emerging trend this year. But, no-one would have predicted exactly how that would turn out.
The coronavirus pandemic means that community-led fitness took on a whole new meaning
At the start of the year, many experts in the world of fitness would have told you that this would be the year of community-led fitness programs. There was a notion that we would all meet up together and take part in fun community-driven activities in great settings – either in the real world or online. Recent global events mean that we have had to rethink what this all means. In a world where social distancing and isolation are vital for the health of our communities, community-led fitness might not seem like the best thing. It is a strange time that we find ourselves in and we don’t know quite how long it will all last. So, let’s look at the potential of these community exercises in a few different ways.
Some creative communities are using fitness to stay together
Let’s start with some of the more uplifting stories and ideas related to community-led fitness right now. There are a lot of people that will say that this period of self-isolation is the best time to get back into a fitness regime. But, many lack the motivation or inspiration to get started. Just because you need to stay indoors, with no close contact with your neighbors doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy some form of exercise.
There are some great videos on social media of neighbors in apartment blocks in Europe taking part in the same fitness class. All the participants are stood on their balconies and can hear the instructions from the tutor in the courtyard below. Now, this would take some organization to ensure that everyone is ready at the right time. But, a notice in a lobby or a Whats-app group could be a good place to start. These group efforts don’t have to be difficult. In fact, the easier the better to engage more people. Simple aerobic exercises and yoga poses could help everyone keep their muscles moving while stuck indoors.
Online classes and communities are more important than ever
If this neighborhood approach isn’t going to be practical in your area, or you simply don’t have that many close neighbors, you might want to consider working with an online community on a fitness program. One way to do this is to follow along with live streams that you can find on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Some of these are focused at children, such as the Joe Wicks feed in the UK that brought in over 800,000 viewers in one day. But, you are sure to find some help out there.
An alternative option is to use the live training options on a fitness machine. If you are going to be stuck indoors for a while and have some money saved, now might be the time to get that high-end exercise machine you were considering. The right machine can connect you to other users and coaches so that you can get guidance and support in your workout. Together you can encourage each other through the apps and work towards common goals. More and more treadmills, rowing machines and exercise bikes have these smart consoles with connectivity for these live sessions.
This is where many people will get the most out of community-driven fitness trends in 2020. Not all of us have the confidence to go out to a group session in a park or a gym. We want the encouragement and support from peers without them right beside us as we sweat it out in unflattering outfits.
Then there are the apps where you can join an online community to track your fitness goals and your weight loss plans. Fitbit and MyFitnessPal are still helpful examples. The community approach here means that you have others you can turn to in a similar situation via the online friends you make. There can be a healthy sense of competition here, which motivates you to push further with your goals. Also, there is a sense of accountability once other people know what your goals are.
Starting community-led programs when this is all over
Online programs and self-isolation workout are nice but they aren’t what everyone wanted when we first considered the potential of community fitness programmes in 2020. Eventually, things will get back to normal and we can embrace the wider prospects of this trend. We will be free to gather in groups at the park for fitness, which could lead to a lot more people taking part in community yoga or other fitness classes outdoors. We will be free to sign up for any gym class that we want, which could bring people together as a community for all kinds of disciplines.
Later in the year could see a surge in outdoor meet-ups and classes, perhaps on a level that the experts didn’t predict. It won’t just be seniors wanting to get out to socialise and deal with health problems. There will be plenty of Millennials and Gen-Xers too that put on a few pounds and lost some flexibility this year. The right community group with kind, supportive members and fun goals will help a lot of people. Also, don’t forget that if you can’t find something you are looking for, you can always start one of your own.