What’s in a class?

Margaret Peggie explores the components that are integral to FLexercise classes.

When I tell people that I teach exercise, I am always asked what sort of class is it. I have to confess that it is a challenge to find an answer which is short and snappy, as easy as saying Circuits or Zumba! What is it that we do?  Apart from giving everyone a fun time that is. 

Achieving good posture is the overall aim of a class, with the added focus on maintaining it while moving. ‘Posture in Action’ is what we call it, and it is one of the fundamental differences between the FLexercise system and Pilates. 

Having warmed you up with movements which are fun to do, which start small and get larger to involve the whole body, your teacher will then get down to work which will progress from static to moving activity. 

The various elements of good posture will be the focus from now on. For example, the correct position of the pelvis, the placement of weight over the feet, the positioning of the head and shoulders and the lift of the ribs away from the hips.

Your teacher takes into account the fact that the body moves as whole, not in totally separate parts. The exercises created will aim to work on a number of areas blended together, adding challenge, efficiency and interest at the same time. You might find that you are working on the flexibility of your spine with your shoulders and waists.  Exercises for your feet, knees and hips go very well together too. By the time your teacher gets to the all important muscles in the abdomen and spine, you will probably be on your mat, strengthening first one side of your body, then the other. Whatever you are doing and in whatever position, your teacher will be reminding you to think about your posture, to check that you are in the best possible position to start the exercises from.

Many exercises classes finish on the floor with stretching and relaxing. Not so for FLexercise teachers, who, having worked through the various elements of posture, will get you on your feet again. The class culminates in a section which is aimed at maintaining posture in action. At this point you may learn a sequence of movement, a dance routine or one using apparatus which you’ll repeat over several weeks until it’s perfect, or as near perfect as it’s ever going to get! This harks back to the origins of FLexercise when class participants learnt and perfected exercise or movement sequences which were going to be performed at a village fete, a demonstration to the WI or even in the Royal Albert Hall! After all the fun and energy of this part of the class, your teacher will cool you down with slow, calm, stretching exercises which leave you standing tall and feeling good. 

How in a nutshell would you describe that?!

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