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World Beat: ARGENTINA

When it comes to group exercise, Argentineans like to be entertained, so choreographed dance classes, such as step and Latin dance, are very popular. Other favorite classes include BodyPUMP® and combat training classes. Mind-body classes, such as yoga, Pilates and t’ai chi, aren’t very popular yet, but they are slowly gaining more fans each year. For the people of Argentina, age is not an obstacle to getting a good workout. In a typical gym class, you’ll find people from 16 to 55 years old.

Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, has 7,000 gyms, ranging from big to small. A larger facility will typically have three group exercise rooms, a weight room, a pool, a sauna and more. Facilities like Sport Club and Megatlon are the most popular; they cost $40 a month (U.S. dollars), plus a one-year membership fee. In general, the membership fee ranges from $20 to $150.

Personal trainers are popular as well. Many people have a personal trainer; it seems to be the thing to do in Argentina. Clients are usually in the affluent 30- or 40-something age group. Many couples train together.

About 50 percent of Argentinians participate in some kind of physical activity. Besides gym classes and personal training sessions, people enjoy exercising in the beautiful parks throughout the country. In the city of Palermo, outdoor activities include running, bicycling, rollerblading and soccer. Children’s activities keep growing, especially dance classes, which are now part of the curriculum in schools.

Six fitness television shows air in Argentina and four fitness magazines are distributed throughout the country; these help spread the word about the benefits of exercise. The medical community in Argentina also promotes a healthy lifestyle. The fitness and medical industry work together through doctor recommendations for physical activity and rehabilitation. Some prepaid medical facilities include gym sessions as part of rehabilitation programs for certain injuries and even for breathing problems.

—Reported by Ulises Puiggros, a 12-year fitness industry veteran, who presents throughout the world and hosts a fitness television show, which airs in South America and the United States.



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