Getting classes to more communities

It is widely recognised that group exercise is an accessible way for a variety of communities to engage in physical activity in a fun, flexible and non-competitive way. Pre-pandemic, near five million adults in England were attending group exercise classes every week, however COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the nation’s activity levels with the return to activity being varied across different population groups.

A group of people in an exercise class

As we move towards post-pandemic times, it’s more important than ever to provide a supported pathway for people to engage with physical activity. Finding ways to strengthen the connection between the Health and Physical Activity sectors is essential, especially if we are to create a sustainable model for health in the future.

EMD UK completed a survey to understand the different ways group exercise providers and instructors were engaging with health, through models such as social prescribing, GP referral schemes, and other NHS projects. Many respondents recognised that they were not currently engaging with ‘the health sector’ in this way but would like to understand more about the opportunities to do so.

The survey also showed a group of instructors who were interested in finding additional information about working with people with long term health conditions and other specialist groups. Campaigns like We Are Undefeatable actively promoting exercise activities to people with long term health conditions, there are many benefits to be found by group exercise providers and instructors having an increased awareness of how to utilise campaigns like this, providing a smooth and connected experiences for those who engage with a campaign.

Listening to the needs identified form the survey, EMD UK has partnered with Move Consulting to host a series of four webinars which will run between January and March 2022. The series aims to help develop your awareness, knowledge and confidence in supporting people new to activity, including people with health conditions to be more active.

Craig Blain, Director at Move Consulting said, “we are delighted to be working in partnership with EMD UK on the health webinar series. The sector is moving towards a more integrated approach to supporting the health and wellbeing of the population and physical activity is a critical part of that mix. The role of group exercise is key to supporting more people to find ways of making those lifestyle changes fit. This series will offer a number of key discussion topics to help provide an insight for group exercise providers and instructors on what they can do to make a difference. We are excited to see how it will be received.”

Each of the four webinars across the series will introduce you to different expert panel who will provide you with insights into their work and experiences to bring the physical activity and health sectors closer together. The webinars will help you understand some of the key organisations and projects supporting people to be more active and improve their health, provide you with ideas on how to engage with partners and new audiences and will be rounded off with a free downloadable resource that you can use to boost your knowledge further.

Sue Wilkie, Head of Instructor Support at EMD UK, said “As the national governing body for group exercise, our work is to inform instructors on how to make an impact and give them the resources and tools to implement change. We are delighted to be working with Move Consulting to give instructors additional information and resources on how they can engage more communities. Continuing the hard work of the sector, we look forward to seeing group exercise being at the forefront of national activity agendas and positively changing the health of the nation.”

The first webinar is taking place on Monday 24 January from 1.00pm-2.00pm. Speakers from Sport England, Active Partnerships, and The Active Wellbeing Society will be discussing what strategies physical activity organisations are implementing to get more people active, as well as how instructors are the key to getting more communities engaged.

Book your space here.

Find more information about Move Consulting and their work here.

All webinars will be available on-demand via the EMD UK YouTube channel. Subscribe here.