In most group exercise workshops I deliver for both land and water, a familiar question is asked. Initially, when I was first asked about how to deal with people with varying health issues in my classes, I would systematically respond to each health issue. The usual response was to make sure that the individual with the health concern, follows the recommendations of their health care provider and then provide them with modifications during the workout. In fact, when I reflect over the years of those responses, there were many modifications – for heart issues, joint pain, postural challenges, various different forms of cancers and other debilitating diseases. This was particularly evident in water based workshops, as often there are more people with health related issues drawn to exercising in water.
Away from the workshops, I approached my classes very differently and only recently realised this. There was an incongruence between my responses in workshops and what I actually did in my own classes! The penny finally dropped.
Having recently attended the International Aquatic and Fitness Conference (IAFC) in Florida in May, I was struck by one word that I kept hearing over and over again. I thought it was really interesting as I hadn't heard that word used as ubiquitously before at any other fitness conference – and I have been to many. I often hear words like 'passionate', 'engage', 'motivated' and 'inspired' but never this particular word. Fitness professionals use it often to describe how they feel about their individual work, but not about a community. The word? Love.
Having just attended a conference in Florida, the discussion around older adults has become ever more controversial. Controversial? How? The incongruity between the researched information and the perception that the public, and this also includes fitness industry, have around exercise, longevity and function of people over the age 60.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become the 'new black' in the fitness world and everything from bootcamp to circuit, to yoga and Pilates formats have taken on the wave of HIIT training to encourage people to exercise and get better results in a shorter period of time. Classes on gym schedules everywhere are removing traditional workouts and replacing them with the higher level of intensity formats to keep up with the influx of social media posts of people who have achieved more in less time and the research that has undoubtedly proven the same thing.