The fitness industry was in the news again recently, in particular group exercise. ACC claims have risen significantly to over 26,000, with a huge proportion being from either Zumba or CrossFit.
A large part of the reason is the inherent problem with group exercise - how do you provide a challenging workout for everyone without being able to monitor individuals? What somone finds easy might be very hard for someone else. What might be a natural movement for some might be weird and uncomfortable for others. If you're doing a difficult, weird and uncomfortable exercise, the risk of injury jumps up dramatically.
If you're a fan of group exercise classes, don't worry you can continue on safely!
Here are some tips to help you lower the risks of injury:
1) Make sure your trainer is REP's registered. This means you won't have an unqualified 'fitness fanatic' taking your session and risking your safety.
2) Look for smaller group sizes. At the Busy Body 'Fit HIIT' indoor Boot Camps, there are only 4-8 people. Some outdoor Boot Camps have up to 50! There's no way you can be monitored properly in such an environment.
3) Ask if there are progressive exercises. An example would be step lunges to weighted lunges to weighted jump lunges. Going straight into the most difficult progression is a huge injury risk.
4) For weighted exercises, check there are a variety of weights on offer and test them out in a warm up to see what is right for you.
5) Some gyms offer beginner, intermediate and advanced group exercise classes. If you haven't done that class before, start with the beginner and don't assume you can handle a tougher one.