Do you Emphasize Support Systems

Though you cannot be personally dedicated to each one of your students, you can provide opportunities for them to find support within their classes and among other members.

By hosting class parties, recognizing birthdays and including discussion sessions as part of the class format, you can facilitate friendship and camaraderie. A person who is not motivated as an exerciser may come back because she has made a friend in step class who encourages her.

I discovered how much impact the social element can have while teaching a class for the local YMCA. The class was small, and most of the ladies were struggling with their weight and self-esteem. Though they attended class fairly regularly, I felt something extra was needed to increase the fun factor and strengthen their commitment to keep attending.

After making special arrangements with the child-care workers to keep the students’ children, we began to have lunch together every month at a local restaurant. Besides being a nice break for the moms, we got a chance to know each other outside of the aerobics room, form some new friendships and reinforce our resolve to stay committed. Our small, quiet table of eight quickly grew into a room of 30.