Program directors who are vying to attract male participants to group exercise classes may want to consider men-only programming. The sessions that most effectively increase physical activity in men reflect their values and interests, include regular group contact, and employ multiple behavior change strategies, according to a review of 24 studies published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2020; 54 ).
Researchers noted that the most successful strategies for retaining male participants used simple, straightforward messages; images and humor; realistic recommendations; and flexible options promoting self-reliance and mastery.
Men seemed to be “drawn to programmes where they can connect with men similar to themselves, in a ‘male-friendly’ environment and engage in friendly banter and competition,” reported study authors. The most effective programs—yielding significantly greater physical activity improvements—involved contact with participants at least once a week. The researchers encouraged development of more gender-tailored programs to attract, engage and retain men.
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