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Your most popular group fitness classes will likely have high demand from a wide variety of members, but many individuals, depending on their age, need to experience them at different levels. This is why the Rose E. Schneider Family YMCA in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania offers a variety of group X classes, some specifically catered to active older adults and others to teenagers.

One such program is a total body conditioning class for teens in the age range of 10 to 14, focusing on strength, flexibility and a small amount of agility. “It’s a class geared toward kids who are involved in athletic programs,” said Kathy Hensler, the healthy living director at the Rose E. Schneider Y. “It’s an in-between season conditioning class to keep you in shape.”

Alternatively, senior yoga is also available for active agers interested in fitness, with an average class age of 65. “The difference in this class and our beginner yoga is we have chairs involved with the senior yoga class,” explained Hensler. “They have chairs to sit on if they need to, and we don’t go down to the mat.”

A unique middle ground class offered once a week to all is called “slo-ga yoga.” This class differs from a beginner yoga class because the poses are held longer than normal, it focuses on defining muscle groups, and offers a deep relaxation at the end of class.

To be successful in offering a variety of classes, Hensler elaborated on the importance of quality and reliable instructors. This is why all of her teachers are both group X-certified and have a nationally recognized yoga certification, commonly through Yoga Fit. Additionally, she has found her instructors are key because they care about the people they’re teaching, they care about each other, and they enjoy the Y environment.

One of the ways Hensler encourages such comradery among her instructors is by getting together at least once a quarter. While it can be difficult with alternating schedules, her team has found success through the use of video conferences and a group Facebook page to discuss what’s going on within the department, which also allows room for questions.

“What I respect a lot about our instructors is that they’re all unique and there’s not a competition factor among them,” said Hensler. “They all encourage and cheer each other on, and they sub for each other — there’s never a problem where I can’t find a sub if someone needs a day off or takes a vacation. Everyone works together to make it happen.”

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Brittany Howard

Brittany is a staff writer at Peake Media. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com

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