Thinking about taking your group exercise classes outside this summer? Great idea! The fresh air and sunny weather can make for an excellent class experience.

Whether you’re teaching bootcamps, circuit training, yoga or dance fitness, teaching outdoors opens opportunities. You’ll be seen by more people than in the studio, giving you a great chance to promote your classes to potential new clients.

But before you even take one step outside, there are some things you need to know to make sure your classes run smoothly.

A large sunny park with trees

You need to ask permission.

You may have found the perfect green space in your local park or maybe a gorgeous bandstand. But even public spaces are owned by someone, usually your local council.

You’ll need to seek out the landowner and ask for permission to run outdoor fitness classes in that space. If they say ‘yes’, ensure that the permission is written down either as a letter or in an email. Keep this with you at all times when running your class – local law enforcers may ask to see permission at any time.

Find your local council on the site here.

Check your insurance.

You know what you’re covered for, or do you?

You may think your insurer will cover outdoor exercise classes as standard, but this isn’t always the case. You may have to pay an excess and/or there may be restrictions on class numbers.

Membership with insurance from EMD UK covers outdoor fitness classes as standard with no limits on numbers. You’ll need to check with your own insurer before planning your sessions.

Do your risk assessments.

Outdoor spaces come with their own unique sets of risks. For example:

  • Members of the public using the space
  • Uneven ground
  • Extreme weather

You must do a risk assessment of your new space like you would any indoor class. Luckily for you, you can download outdoor risk assessment templates from our free resource area and edit them to suit your space.

Outdoor spaces are more susceptible to changes too. Things like litter, dog mess, holes, and wet ground all present hazards. You must do a walk around the space every time before your class.

Be aware of music licenses.

Your summer playlists will thrive in outdoor spaces! Mini festival anyone?

But before you hit play, you’ll need to sort your music licenses. Unless you’re playing royalty-free music, you’ll need to invest in a PRS license and your usual PPL credits.

You should also find a volume where your music isn’t going to be considered a ‘noise nuisance’. Playing music too loud could land you in trouble with local residents and businesses who have the right to complain to the council and the police.

A park bench in the rain

Plan for different scenarios.

We can all agree that the British weather is less than ideal sometimes!

Inclement weather can happen quickly outside — be prepared with an alternate plan if it does! You may also need to adjust your routine or exercise selection depending on the conditions in each area so that everyone can remain safe while doing their best workout without compromising form.

We recently dived into the topic of ‘How hot is too hot for fitness classes?’ which includes information about outdoor temperatures. You can read our blog here.

Consider setting up a WhatsApp group or similar to let your clients know if plans need to change last minute.

And finally…

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Bringing classes outdoors is a great way to get people outside and moving while having fun in the process.

Get creative with your routines, try new exercises, and don’t forget to take timeouts when needed so that everyone stays hydrated and energised throughout the class.

At the end of the day, outdoor exercise classes should be just as rewarding as those taken indoors — so go out and make the most of it!

Good luck! And don’t forget to share your outdoor class photos with us on Instagram using the hashtag #StandAtTheFront.

Additional reading