Group exercise instructors are at particular risk for performance-related injuries because many teach multiple classes each day where they repetitively demonstrate exercise moves. To assess performance-related injuries, a paper-pencil survey was mailed to 1000 randomly selected American Council on Exercise certified group exercise instructors. Questionnaire respondents included 386 professionally certified female instructors from 48 states. Most injuries reported (77%) were of the lower extremity (feet, knee, calf, thigh, shin, ankle, hip). Less than one-fourth of the injuries (23%) were of the trunk or upper body (shoulder, arm, back). The three most commonly reported injury sites were the foot (13.1%), knee (12.5%), and back (9.5%). The three most common types of injury reported were general inflammation (20.7%), muscle strain or sprains (19.6%), and stress fractures (16.8%). Two independent variables were significantly associated with rates of injuries: obligatory exercise scores (p = .0028), and reports of a past eating disorder (p = .0007). Group exercise instructors are at particular risk for injury to the lower body. Those instructors with exercise and eating-related disorders are especially prone to activity-related injuries.
Sharon H. Thompson, Alan J. Case, and Roger G. Sargent
Ellen F. Binder, Marybeth Brown, Suzanne Craft, Kenneth B. Schechtman, and Stanley J. Birge
Fifteen community dwelling older adults, ages 66 to 97 years, with at least one risk factor for recurrent falls, attended a thrice weekly group exercise class for 8 weeks. In post- versus preexercise comparisons, knee extensor torque at 0°/sec increased by 16.5% (p = 0.055); time to perform the stand-up test once, and five times consecutively, improved by 29.4 and 27.4%, respectively (p = 0.05, p = 0.01); gait speed for 24 feet increased by 16.5% (p < 0.001); and performance of the progressive Romberg test of balance improved with a mean increase of 1.1 ± 0.9 positions (p = 0.001). Participants reported a significant increase in the mean number of times per week that they went out of their apartment/home independent of exercising, and a significant increase in the mean number of city blocks they could walk. Performance data for nine exercise participants at 1-yr postintervention are presented. A low- to moderate-intensity groups exercise program can effect improvements in lower extremity strength, gait speed, balance, and self-reported mobility function in frail older adults.
Brandon Grubbs, Ashley Artese, Karla Schmitt, Eileen Cormier, and Lynn Panton
This pilot study assessed the feasibility of incorporating animal-assisted therapy teams (ATT) into a 6-week group exercise program for older adults (77 ± 6 years). Fifteen participants were randomly assigned to an exercise with ATT (E+ATT; n = 8) or exercise only (E; n = 7) group. Groups exercised 3x/week for 45 min. Feasibility was assessed by three objectives: (1) ATT will not need extensive preparation beyond their original therapy training; (2) the study will require minimal cost; and (3) ATT must not impair the effectiveness of the exercise program. By the study conclusion, all objectives were met. Time and cost were minimal for ATT, and adherence was 93% and 90% for E+ATT and E, respectively. There were significant improvements in both groups (p ≤ .05) for arm curls, get-up and go, and 6-min walk. The results of this pilot study suggest that it is feasible to incorporate ATT into group exercise programming for older adults.
Kimberley L. Gammage, Breanne Drouin, and Larkin Lamarche
The current study compared a single yoga group exercise class and a resistance group exercise class for their effects on state body satisfaction and social physique anxiety in women.
A pretest-posttest design was used. Participants (N = 46) completed both a resistance exercise class and yoga class in a counterbalanced order. Measures of body satisfaction and social physique anxiety were completed immediately before and after each class.
A 2 (time) × 2 (class type) repeatedmeasures multiple analysis of variance showed a significant overall Time × Class Type interaction (F 2,44 = 5.69, P < .01, η p 2 = .21). There was a significant increase in body satisfaction after the yoga class. After both classes, there was a significant decrease in social physique anxiety, but the magnitude of the change was larger after the yoga class than after the resistance class.
Both types of exercise class were associated with improvements in body image, but there were greater improvements after the yoga class. This study provided evidence of the positive effects of yoga for reducing state social physique anxiety and increasing state body satisfaction, adding to correlational evidence suggesting that yoga is particularly beneficial for improving body image-related outcomes in women.
Lucy McPhate, Emily M. Simek, Terry P. Haines, Keith D. Hill, Caroline F. Finch, and Lesley Day
Group exercise has been shown to be effective in preventing falls; however, adherence to these interventions is often poor. Older adults’ preferences for how these programs can be delivered are unknown.
To identify older people’s preferences for how group exercise programs for falls prevention can be delivered.
A two-wave, cross-sectional, state-wide telephone survey was undertaken. Respondents were community-dwelling men and women aged 70+ in Victoria, Australia.
Open-ended questions were asked to elicit information regarding respondent preferences of the program, which were analyzed using a framework approach.
Ninetyseven respondents completed the follow-up survey. The results indicate that older adults most frequently report the short-term advantages and disadvantages when describing their preferences for group exercise, such as enjoyment, social interaction, and leader qualities. Longer-term advantages such as falls prevention were described less frequently.
This study indicates the importance of interpersonal skills, and that the opportunity for social interaction should not be overlooked as a positive feature of a group exercise program.
Lisa G. Johnson and Birgitta L. Baker
Louisiana State University’s School of Kinesiology has partnered with the Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Fitness Center in Baton Rouge, LA since 2003 offering our fitness studies concentration majors a unique service-learning experience. The center is located in a community with citizens battling many health issues, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, with limited access and resources that promote a heathy lifestyle. Students enrolled in a senior capstone course work with the community members in the Sensational Seniors fitness program. This fitness program addresses some of those needs by providing a variety of group exercise sessions promoting overall health and longevity for the participants. Our students are able to apply theoretical concepts learned in lectures and laboratories to address public health concerns in a real-life setting. The students lead group fitness activities, monitor blood pressures, and disseminate appropriate and updated health and exercise information for the seniors.
Joanna M. Auger and Nancy L.I. Spencer
programs across 18 studies. These programs typically only included participants who experience disability, and participants within each program had been diagnosed with the same type of neurological condition. These programs were predominantly taught by group exercise instructors who had minimal background
Steven R. Bray, Nancy C. Gyurcsik, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis, and S. Nicole Culos-Reed
The purpose of this study was to develop a measure of proxy efficacy for use in group exercise contexts (e.g., aerobics classes) where participants engage in exercise under the direction of a group exercise leader (e.g., aerobics instructor). Three phases of research are reported. Phase 1 involved group exercisers as active agents in the generating of questionnaire items. In Phase 2, novice exercisers assisted in an item-trimming process and the questionnaire was further refined into a 17-item two-dimensional scale based on preliminary psychometric testing. In the third phase, proxy efficacy beliefs of novice female exercisers (N = 70, average age = 21.09 years, SD = 5.11) were experimentally manipulated through exposure to different exercise group leadership and choreography styles. Results provide preliminary support for the Proxy Efficacy Exercise Questionnaire (PEEQ) as a measure that can provide valid and reliable scores representing women’s proxy efficacy beliefs in group exercise settings. Implications for future research in terms of furthering the construct validation process and potential contributions to understanding exercise adherence among novice exercisers are discussed.
Adrienne J. McNamara, Michael J. Pavol, and Katherine B. Gunter
Community-based exercise programs are popular for achieving physical activity among older adults, but the amount of physical activity obtained through such programs is unknown. This study quantified the bone-loading forces and levels of cardiovascular activity associated with participation in “Better Bones and Balance” (BBB), a community-based fall- and fracture-prevention program for older adults.
Thirty-six postmenopausal women age 73.2 ± 7.6 yr engages in BBB participated in this study. Ground-reaction forces (GRFs) associated with BBB exercises were evaluated using a force platform. Session and weekly totals of minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and total time spent above 55% maximum heart rate (HR) were measured using accelerometers and HR monitors, respectively.
BBB exercises produced mean 1-leg GRFs of 1.4–2.2 units body weight. Weekly BBB participation was associated with 126 ± 31 min of MVPA.
Activity obtained by BBB participation meets recommended guidelines for skeletal and cardiovascular health.
Jing Liao, Yung-Jen Yang, and Dong (Roman) Xu
Background: Evidence suggests the importance of physical activity and social engagement in cognitive preservation. Group-based dancing combining exercise and prosocial features may generate physical and cognitive benefits. Objectives: To investigate the association between multiyear habitual square dancing and domain-specific cognitive function, and assess the relative importance and joint impact of physical activity and social activity on cognition. Methods: Using the cross-sectional propensity score matching method, the study compared the mental status, episodic memory, and overall cognitive performances of 145 amateur female square-dancing participants (aged ≥45 y) to their sociodemographic- and health-status–matched 222 nondancing counterparts, selected from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study. Results: The authors found a positive association between multiyear square dancing (average 8 y) and overall cognitive performances (mean difference = 2.84; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.65 to 4.02), which was apparent in processing capacity (2.29; 95% CI, 1.51 to 3.07) but not in memory (0.55; 95% CI, −0.13 to 1.23). The hypothesized synergic effect of physical activity and social activity on cognition was only observed in group-based exercises embodying these 2 components simultaneously. Conclusions: Long-term square dancing as one type of physically and socially engaging activities may preserve cognition. Future longitudinal and interventional studies are needed to further clarify the causal relationship.