Groupthink is strong in Singapore. That’s why people here love queuing so much even if we don’t know what it’s for—there’s something about standing in line with a bunch of other people who all want the same thing that people seem to find inspiring.
That’s why group workouts are so popular in Singapore right now. Nobody wants to be that guy practising parkour all by himself at the neighbourhood playground, or the weirdo doing yoga poses all alone at the park. But when there’s a large group of people in workout attire all performing the same movements in synchrony, people get the urge to join in.
Seriously, though, one reason group workouts are so popular is that it takes a lot less discipline to just show up and let the teacher or trainer lead you, than to summon up the will to exercise all on your own. And anything that gets Singaporeans off their couches and moving can’t be bad.
So for anyone who wishes they could exercise more but just doesn’t have the energy and willpower to go it alone, here are four ways to enjoy a free or cheap group workout in the company of like-minded people.
Pop-up yoga classes
Over the years, yoga has been transformed from something Indian men and women did in dhotis and saris, to a huge industry.
Practising at a yoga studio often involves paying a costly monthly subscription, or being forced to buy a hefty package of classes that you then have to use within 6 months.
Thankfully for those who want to practise amongst other people in colourful tights but without the cost or commitment, a few enterprising yoga teachers now organise pop-up yoga sessions held in interesting public spaces. Urban Yogis is one such movement, and classes are usually a very affordable $5 each. There’s also a strong novelty factor, as the location is different each time.
Group running sessions
Anybody who wants to lose weight or is afraid of failing IPPT instantly thinks of running. The only problem is that running around your HDB block in the middle of the night can get pretty boring.
Group running sessions, on the other hand, are a lot more motivating, as you can chat with your fellow runners as you tackle routes that often go through scenic areas like Marina Bay.
There are several groups that organise running sessions, either for free, or for an affordable subscription fee. Check out this list of running clubs if you’d like to give it a shot.
Free Kpop and zumba classes
Whether they admit it or not, many a Kpop fan has tried to learn their favourite group’s moves by watching dance tutorials on YouTube.
That explains the popularity of Kpop dance classes, which are available free at some shopping malls during the before- and after-work hours. These are popular not only with Korean drama-loving aunties, but also office workers and teenage Kpop fans. ActiveSG offers studio Kpop x fitness classes.
Then there’s zumba, which is, uh, a different beast and also gaining quite a following amongst the people who go for dance classes in shopping malls. Would I ever be caught dead in lycra knee-length workout shorts, gyrating to Zumba beats? No, but since it contributes to the health of the nation, go for it if it’s your thing. Star Vista organises free zumba classes on Tuesday evenings.
Play badminton with a Meetup group
If you’ve ever browsed through the Meetup.com, you’ll have noticed that the most popular sport by far is badminton. There are so many badminton groups that they can afford to target an extremely niche audience—“Badminton for Christian Singles” or “40+ Shuttlers Living in Yishun”, anyone?
This means there’s a badminton game going on every single day, probably in an area near you. Games are often free to participate in on condition that you split the cost of the court with the other players. This is perfect, especially if you’ve ever tried to book a badminton court in Singapore.
Do you participate in any group workouts? Tell us what you do in the comments!