Group fitness is effective in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors in healthy adults


In the past 5 years, 1 of every 3 deaths in the United Stateswas attributed to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Regular physical activity has numerous benefits associated with the reduction of cardiovascular disease risk factors. Despite these details, 60% of Americans are not regularly physically active and 25% are not active at all. Previous studies have found significant changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors by combining cardiorespiratory and strength training into one exercise program. The current pilot study augments the approach by utilizing a group fitness program that mimics the Physical Activity Guidelines for Fitness. Therefore our purpose was to evaluate if a multimodal group fitness intervention could singularly produce the physiological and musculoskeletal health benefits of the established physical activity prescription. Twenty-five sedentary, but otherwise healthy, adults (15 women and 10 men) between the ages of 25 - 40 years completed the protocol of a 30-week group exercise program. It started with a 6-week familiarization period, continued with a 12-week block of 6 group fitness classes per week (3 cardiovascular, 2 strength, 1 flexibility), and concluded with a 12-week block of 7 classes per week (4 cardiovascular, 2 strength, 1 flexibility). We completed submaximal oxygen consumption treadmill tests, fasting blood draws and iDXA scans at 3 time points (baseline, midpoint, final) and compared the data using a paired t-test (p < 0.05). Compared to baseline measurements, the final measurements demonstrated that the participants had statistically significant reductions in body mass, fat body mass percentage, total cholesterol, LDL-C, and triglycerides and elevations in oxygen consumption, lean body mass percentages, and HDL-C. Based upon our results, group fitness may be an ideal method to minimize attrition and maximize health benefits in a comprehensive manner to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Share and Cite:

Gottschall, J. , Jones, J. , Mills, J. and Hastings, B. (2013) Group fitness is effective in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors in healthy adults. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 3, 132-140. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2013.31017.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2008) Health and human services. Washington DC.
[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012) Be one in a million this American heart month.
[3] Surgeon General (1999) Physical Activity and health promotion. Atlanta.
[4] (2009) ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.
[5] Park, S.K., Park, J.H., Kwon, Y.C., Kim, H.S., Yoon, M.S. and Park, H.T. (2003) The effect of combined aerobic and resistance exercise training on abdominal fat in obese middle-aged women. Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Science, 22, 129-135. doi:10.2114/jpa.22.129
[6] Libardi, C.A., De Souza, G.V., Cavaglieri, C.R., Madruga, V.A. and Chacon-Mikahil, M.P. (2012) Effect of resistance, endurance, and concurrent training on TNF-alpha, IL-6, and CRP. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 44, 50-56. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e318229d2e9
[7] McCarthy, C.J., Mills, P.M., Pullen, R., Roberts, C., Silman, A. and Oldham, J.A. (2004) Supplementing a home exercise programme with a class-based exercise programme is more effective than home exercise alone in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Rheumatology (Oxford), 43, 880-886. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/keh188
[8] Nielsen, A.C. (2007) National readership survey and panorama. Auckland.
[9] (2010) International health, IHRSA’s member census.
[10] Donnelly, J.E., Blair, S.N., Jakicic, J.M., Manore, M.M., Rankin, J.W. and Smith, B.K. (2009) American college of sports medicine position stand. Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 41, 459-471. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181949333
[11] (2012) Strategies to overcome and prevent obesity alliance: Policy recommendations. D.o.H. Policy, Washington DC.
[12] Thompson, P.D. (2003) Exercise and physical activity in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Arterios-clerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 23, 1319-1321. doi:10.1161/01.ATV.0000087143.33998.F2

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.