The Strauss Blog

Association Meetings and Conferences are Better with a Physical Fitness Element, Part 3 – You’ve received delegate buy in now which activity should you offer?

In my last two blog articles, Association Meetings and Conferences are Better with Physical Fitness Element, Part 1 and Part 2, I wrote about the importance of meeting the needs of participants in your event and association meetings by adding a physical activity component to the long days, and specifically how to prepare your delegates for an activity and how to achieve their buy in.

As I look outside my window to a very wintry, white and cold climate I am encouraged to write about activities that can be done inside the meeting venue, during the event program.

The New Year always brings new fitness trends and 2017 will surely bring many new ideas and activities as well as revive some old. Group fitness will never go out of style, but the class types will continue to evolve. Here are two recommendations to consider.

The classic is a great addition to an association meeting or conference.

A classic go to that is being revived for 2017 is circuit type group classes. These can be modified to all levels of fitness and can have many different types of activities incorporated into them. My recommendation is to create a circuit for your participants to try after a lunch. Based on the number of delegates you will determine the number of stations and the number of people at each station. Stations can incorporate fitness components including strength, cardiovascular, balance and flexibility. If you have an equipment sponsor for the event, you can provide delegates with an opportunity to try out different equipment. Examples include Bosu balance trainers, TRX, body bars, stability balls, rebounders and resistance bands.

Ensure you have certified fitness professionals roaming the room during the activities and demonstrating the activities to keep delegates safe. A quick half hour class with 30-60 seconds at each station and a 30 second transition is all they need to get their energy flowing.

Add technology and fitness to an association meeting or conference.

A new trend in the group fitness world is virtual classes. These are pre-recorded classes for participants to follow along with if they cannot get to their gym on a specific day. You can have a fitness professional create a virtual class that you can play for your delegates that is suited to their needs. This virtual class could include a small cardio component, a strength component, and balance and flexibility drills that can all be done right in the ballroom. Jumping jacks, tricep dips on their chair, squats, one foot balancing and range of motion exercises can easily accomplish this. You can throw this into the day a few times, for 10 minutes per session. Again, have fitness professionals in the room to help guide safe technique.

It is important to ensure that these sessions are being led by Certified Fitness Professionals who have liability insurance. As well, confirm that all delegates who participate have completed a ParQ at registration: http://www.csep.ca/cmfiles/publications/parq/par-q.pdf

Delegates will appreciate the opportunity to try something new and usually feel quite rejuvenated once they’ve completed their activity. They had an opportunity to laugh and smile and will be ready to continue on with their day of learning.

Coralee is both an Association Manager and Certified Fitness Professional