EMD UK, the national governing body for group exercise, are excited to announce their new partnership with dance fitness organisation FitSteps® for the launch of Feel For. Funded by EMD UK, Feel For aims to engage with community groups across England that are physically inactive, including mental health groups to Slimming World groups and sessions for mums.

Created by BBC Strictly Come Dancing professionals, Natalie Lowe and Ian Waite, in collaboration with Olympic swimmer Mark Foster, FitSteps® is an energetic, upbeat dance class designed to achieve real measurable fitness results. Combining steps from a wide range of classic dance styles, including Ballroom and Latin, FitSteps® promotes the fun of exercise. FitSteps has been getting people fit through dance since 2013, with thousands of classes taking place each week

For this project, FitSteps® will be running their FAB workout; FitSteps® For All Bodies. It’s especially designed for people who love to dance, want to keep fit, but for a variety of reasons, prefer a lighter intensity, lower impact and perhaps a slower pace. The five groups identified for this pilot are located in London, Hereford, Leamington Spa, Somerset and St Albans and will be provided with a 12 week beginner Feel For FitSteps® programme which will aim to gradually improve their fitness levels and overall physical and mental wellbeing. The groups will also be given additional support from the instructor to ensure increased adherence and motivation within the 12 weeks, as well as establishing a long-term active lifestyle approach.

Natalie Lowe, Co-Creator of FitSteps® said; “I am so excited about this project. Since creating FitSteps our mission has been to get the Nation fit and healthy through our ballroom and Latin fitness program so this really is an amazing opportunity to reach people who otherwise might not have given FitSteps a try.

At Fitsteps HQ we are constantly dedicating our time to massively improve the wellbeing of people’s lives so we are very proud to get our new program FitSteps FAB out to the all who greatly benefit. Fitsteps FAB is our low impact workout so absolutely anyone can join in no matter what age or ability and immediately feel the difference physically and mentally when dancing with FitSteps.  To be able to share this and make a difference in people’s lives is extremely rewarding and keeps me motivated to continue helping others change their mind-set about how we treat our mind and bodies.”

Chloë Devitt-Spooner, Business Development Manager (Projects) for EMD UK, explains the suitability of FitSteps® for this project; “People who are physically inactive don’t fall into just one category. There are a variety of reasons why people don’t get the exercise they need and starting any new activity can be a daunting prospect. We want to make the transition to being regularly active as smooth as possible. Our insight work has found that 92% of people think dance fitness isn’t too competitive or serious*, so FitSteps® is a great programme to get people into exercise.”

In 2015, research conducted by EMD UK and YouGov found that 38% of dance fitness participants were previously inactive before starting classes. With the ‘inactivity crisis’ taking its toll on public services such as the NHS, it is vital that pathways to exercise are created and dance fitness is a great place to start.  EMD UK will continue to pilot exciting new approaches for getting physically inactive communities active, building on their vision of ‘a healthier nation through exercise’.

If you are a business or organisation interested in delivering a programme for people that are physically inactive please get in touch with EMD UK by emailing hello@emduk.org.

You can find more information about EMD UK project work here.

You can find out more about FitSteps, find a FitSteps/FitSteps FAB class or find out about becoming an instructor here.

*Insight statistics taken from the 2015 Participant Survey, conducted in partnership with YouGov.