Group fitness has traditionally been a female dominated exercise style, but that might be changing. The origin of the “jazzercise” trend started with Jane Fonda and Richard Simons. These television and film routines generally showed an all female group and catered to the female market.
Iowa State has been reporting lower numbers of men at group fitness classes than normal. Kara Herbert, fitness coordinator, explains it by, “psychology professors [will] tell you women are more inclined to work out in groups, where men tend to be more inclined to work out on their own.” Research has shown that men work out to increase competition. Group fitness tends to have lower competition, which might explain why men avoid it.
While Iowa State may have dropping numbers, rates of men attending group fitness classes are up. Another fitness coordinator, Nora Hudson, explains that, “I think the door has opened in terms of people realizing they want to move differently and stimulate muscles differently and more balanced. We’re seeing more people be educated in the need to have a more balanced fitness program- flexibility, cardio, strength, function- we are seeing the trend of fitness programs offering many varieties of movement opportunities.”
Is group fitness attracting more men? It certainly seems that the social stigma of women’s aerobic groups is leaving and men feel more comfortable in the program.
Source: Iowa State Daily