Column: Fitness Question of the Month
Take those first steps
Abbeycroft Leisure introduced its STEPS customer journey programme last year, recognising that we have many different ‘types’ of customer, from first timers and yo-yo clients that keep coming back to try again, through to savvy regulars and those looking for new or additional exercise challenges. Our STEPS journey offers tailor-made support for customers of all levels of experience, and is a long-term commitment, with follow-ups over 2, 3, 6 and 12 months, to keep customers on track.
It’s our job to find an activity that works for each customer. Within the gym environment our shorter, more intense sessions, known as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), have changed the commonly-held belief that the gym has to be a one-hour slog, staring at a cardio display for 30 minutes at a time.
Changing it up sounds obvious, and while the term HIIT can send shivers down the spine, the reality is that high-intensity is relevant to each individual, therefore it’s not about how many, how high or how fast. The key is the individual working harder, getting a more effective and rounded experience, with an added bonus of less time spent in the gym.
Join a class
The gym is not for everyone. In fact, there are many studies that demonstrate exercising with others is more effective at sustaining interest. Group exercise or ‘fitness classes’ are growing year on year, with a particular focus on wellbeing: yoga, Pilates and mindfulness are very popular within our centres.
Make a splash
Swimming is a great all-round activity: benefits include raising the heart rate, reducing impact/stress on the body and building endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. And the pool offers new exercise opportunities, so it's time to dig out your goggles and take your HIIT workout into the pool, in the form of high-energy aqua circuits.
Run for it
Fitness challenges and one-off events have become crucial for those eager for their next fitness fix. The motivation of mass participation events, aligned with the emergence of parkrun, has seen people tackle 10Ks, half and full marathons. If it is your first event, parkruns are a great way to establish some initial running fitness and get used to clocking up the miles with others. Of course it is crucial to follow a structured training programme, complemented by gym and pool use to build strength, condition and reduce the risk of injury.
Technology, activity trackers and the growth of smart watches has made fitness a 24/7 commitment. Abbeycroft Leisure is no different, recognising customer expectations to stay connected to ‘their’ centre at all times. Our clients have access through our very own app, where they can book classes, log activity, create workouts, earn rewards and take part in challenges both in and out of our leisure centres. Time to get on-track!
Abbeycroft Leisure has centres throughout Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. Find out more at acleisure.com
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More by this authorAlice Ryan