Getting more men into gym classes comes down to creating an environment that has no judgement if someone makes a mistake and the vibe is welcoming for both men and women. No one wants to feel like a fool doing something for the first time and men don’t want to be the only guy in the class full of women who know what they are doing. Offering beginner-friendly classes is one thing, however many people chose to go to those classes because it’s the only one that fits their schedule. A teacher can’t expect to slow the whole class down for just one person, however there are alternative ways to invite newcomers to the class without scaring them off.A perfect yet simple slogan to hopefully reach men participants would be, “Real men can dance”. It’s time to put aside gendered stereotypes, men must set aside their egos and do something they’re unfamiliar with.
When it comes to yoga, zumba, and other activities at the gym, it’s not based on gender specific. The perception of these fitness programs that creates “dancer bodies” is off putting to guys who are used to competitive activities or traditional gym workouts. Incorporating dancing into an overall fitness routine allows for increased performance by pushing the boundaries of what the body would normally (Sweeney, 2017).
Not to mention, girls love a guy who can dance. Author Corey Johnson interviewed a man named Darrin whom he said, “people who ask me to dance may be interested in me… sometimes it’s just for fun” (Johnson, 2005). It’s also important for the men to feel comfortable doing activities women do no matter how active they may be. Some are looking for that first step to a healthier lifestyle, so working slowly at exercising isn’t a bad thing at all. Another marketing campaign idea is specialized classes for men and women. Many men and women are avid golfers and runners so maybe having classes that are “Yoga for Golfers” or “Yoga for Runners” is a great way to get their attention.
A study at Indiana University has exposed older veterans that have dealt with a stroke to yoga activities. Results of this study produced outstanding results as researchers were able to help victims cope with increased risk for painful and deadly falls (2011). Instructor YuMee Chung mentions that, “72 seconds of holding a pose can have the ability to restore the body to balance and expose muscle imbalances that result for injuries” (Grotewold, 2013). When you get older often individuals get those aches and pains, so why not have yoga for injury recovery or tense muscle relaxation that will appeal to men and women and will give men who are nervous about trying yoga, dance or pilates for the first time a common bond with everyone else in that class. Rather than him feeling like he’s going into a course where he feels uncomfortable or the odd one out, he can think, “I am here to improve my tense muscles, I’m going to do whatever it takes”. Even athletes such as Evan Longoria, Vernon Davis and Kevin Love do yoga to stay fit (Sonny, 2014). New research from Indiana University has found that yoga can have a positive impact on brain injury recovery – and is beneficial for adults who have suffered a stroke or brain injury.
An eight-week yoga program delivering results from 3 participants that balance has increased by 36%, balance confidence by 39%, lower-extremity strength by 100% and endurance by 105% (Rice, 2016). 2. The public perception of dance is that it is not a “manly” activity. However, to dance it is a physical and athletic activity that requires great skill, strength and agility.
It requires men to be in top physical form, beauty and elegance. Therefore, boys favour heavy athletic activities, while the dance is considered more fitted for girls. A study was taken of 15 boys from two schools, aged between 11 and 14, about dance and physical activity they liked and dislike.
It was found that some boys feared body contact. When it came to dance, almost all boys expressed negative feelings about ballet and thought the dancing was ‘weird’ or ‘pointless’ or just ‘gay’, however those who expressed interest in dance, it would not be something they could do during gym class because they assume other boys would refuse to participate (Gard, 2008). My childhood friend, Danny, grew up in dance, he was never one who enjoyed volleyball, baseball or soccer like my brother did but, he loved music and the creative parts of dance. He was into ballet, jazz, hip hop and every year he would excel in the dance classes he took. He had a hard time, once telling me that he’s the only boy in his classes, that peers at school would judge and tease him for being interested in only dance and having only girls as friends. It was something he struggled with, but never stopped him from doing what he loved. He had his family and close friends who supported him and saw potential in him. After high school graduation, he went to Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto and is now traveling Europe being paid to do what he loves to do the most.
To create a safe and welcoming space for those interested in dance classes, I think the first strategy should be to, “keep it a safe space” by promising the men that people won’t laugh at them or having a male instructor/volunteer at the front of class instructing. To get men involved, promise them others won’t be watching. Point out how many other people are there dancing and who aren’t paying any attention to them.
The biggest obstacle for men is the fear of looking stupid. Most of the time men have no idea what they are doing until they try it out and someone is there to teach them. Without this safe environment, author Springman feels that people would be unwilling to push themselves past their boundaries (2016). They need to be confident and allow themselves to let loose and not care what others think for a short while. One more strategy, I think would be to offer special events and offers to allow wives and girlfriends to invite their loved ones to a class and get them interested in coming for the weeks ahead.
I think it would be a great idea to offer one week of free classes for member’s spouse, as studies have shown 33% of yoga practitioners started because of a free class and are continuing (2018). Another idea would be having events, or a program called Fresh Start, where they talk about nutrition, dietitians come in and speak, then simple exercises to gradually increase fitness levels and introduce weights, mats and dance. That way it is a gradual introduction by that time they are hooked to move onto the next program. Lastly, holding workshops such as stress reduction or anxiety release. Shelia Lane is the owner of Miss Bliss Yoga, which is a weekend retreat that brings families and communities together by incorporating wine tasting and yoga. The weekend is intimate, friendly and not at all intimidating for someone who might be new to yoga as the classes are taught at all levels. They work to create an at-home atmosphere, relaxed environment and comfort for visitors (Ingram, 2015).
3. In one article authors Suzana and George of the University of Houston, stated 4 different dimensions of leisure that differ by masculinity and femininity. The first dimension of leisure is perceived freedom, of which the person feels that what she or he is doing is being carried out freely, without constraint or compulsion. Meaning that women should be confident with taking a role as a firefighter or police officers, while men should be able to take part in dance classes without fearing judgement. The second is self-expression, related to the ability of expressing one’s true self while at leisure.
While the third is social evaluation dimension, related to the self-expression dimension given that self evaluation constitutes a barrier to self-expression, often what men deal with when they are too afraid to take part in what they think is a women’s leisure. The fourth dimension is enjoyment and related to the fact that leisure promotes pleasure and fun (Fontenelle & Zinkhan, 1993). Leisure is important because people need freedom to become and express themselves no matter what gender they may be. It has become evident overtime the difference in ways females and males address leisure. Masculinity often takes a hold at an early stage.
A baby is born not knowing its gender but becomes aware of its gender by learning the rules of masculinity and femininity that it is altogether different, also known as gender identity. When we think of a boy, we often think of the colour blue, construction worker, firefighter, strong and tough. Whereas a girl we often think of them as soft, emotional and of the colour pink. At a young age, many young girls are encouraged to pursue dance as a gender-appropriate activity, where as it is something largely avoided by boys, who are rapidly learning and synthesising appropriate male behaviour, which means avoiding all that is feminine, homosexual or un-masculine to any degree.
Boys are pushed more towards athletic and hard-hitting sports such as hockey, football or baseball. Many of us have heard teachers, parents or other adult figures use common taunts like, “you throw like a girl” or “man up”, to dissuade young people from being physically active and a way of saying to aren’t good enough. We live in a culture where admitting our own insecurities and flaws is both unacceptable and humiliating. The idea that showing vulnerability is somehow negative to men and is fuelling a culture in which mental health is seen as a taboo for everyone, but mainly men. Nowadays, when it comes to dismantling stereotypes, we must be very cautious of what we say to individuals. Professor Brene Brown, has spent years researching the power of vulnerability and identifies that while people tend to portray themselves in a positive light, it is in fact our weakness and are emotions are what is in fact a health and vital part of our mental health (Brelie, 2018).Now a days, there are transgenders, drag queens and numerous genders.
Screw stereotypes, the effort it takes to uphold them, and the sadness that they can bring. There is meaningless, disempowering social constructs, which are holding us all back in being the person we feel the most comfortable being. An example would be Olympic athlete, Bruce Jenner.
After years of dressing up as a drag queen and keeping a deep personal secret that he’s transgender from his family and friends, he made the life-changing decision to open up about his transition at age 65 in front of the world. He suffered from feeling a lot of shame about it for years but has grown to accept it and has lifted a tremendous burden off his shoulders (Strohm, 2015). Men and women should not feel the need to live life as someone being constantly judged by others, but to live their life the way they feel they intend to. My mother has always taught me to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, meaning to challenge yourself, to step out of that comfort zone to add adrenaline and something new to your life.
Whether you are a girl or a boy, it shouldn’t matter the gender. What matters is that you are who you chose to be and listening to society should not change your perception on what is right and what is wrong.