Sisterhood shown to be powerful incentive at women's gyms

Mon Feb 3, 2014 4:03am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Women-only gyms, once seen as the exercise alternative for out of shape women of a certain age, are actively shedding that reputation, fitness experts say.

Young, professional women are discovering that female-only fitness zones can be what a morning of golf or shooting the hoops is to their male counterparts: a chance to network, negotiate and bond while working out.

"Men have been combining fitness and a social aspect for ages, doing business and creating relationships at the same time," said Leanne Shear, trainer and founder of Uplift Studios, a boutique women-only venue in Manhattan.

"Women have not, to their detriment."

Shear said her studio, which opened in 2012, attracts professional women in their 20's, 30's and 40's, and aims to provide a social atmosphere where they can come together as a community.

As for the workouts, Shear believes that while women are certainly capable of doing everything that men do, many find the gym equipment in weight rooms bulky, off-putting and ill-suited to them.

Equipment in Shear's studio includes an elliptical machine with a smaller stride better suited to women, and instead of huge plates and bars, there are lots of dumbbells, balls, balancing equipment and body weight exercises.

A 2014 report by International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) showed that while health club members are equally likely to be male or female, what they do when they visit the club differs considerably.   Continued...