Gone are the days when health clubs offered only two or three different types of fitness classes. Before you don your spandex workout gear and prepare to Jazzercise, consider one of the dozens of new and exciting alternatives. With so many options to choose from, you can be sure that there's something to fit your needs and preferences.
If you have joint problems or limited mobility, yoga is an excellent option. Unlike jogging or jumping rope, which are high-impact activities, yoga uses gentle stretching and low-impact moves. Yoga is beloved by many for its ability to center your mind and body as you tone muscles, develop strength and improve your overall health. As an added bonus, many people say that yoga helps them to de-stress at the end of a long, harrowing day.
If swimming laps seems too monotonous to hold your interest, consider a water aerobics class. Like yoga, water aerobics are low-impact and can be enjoyed regardless of your age and fitness levels. Performing these fitness routines while submerged is also ideal if you are recovering from a recent injury. It allows you to gently regain your range of motion while healing the muscles and joints.
If you're passionate about music and movement, you're an excellent candidate for a Zumba class. This popular fitness concept combines the best of high-energy fitness moves with the excitement and sounds of a dance party. An upbeat Latin-inspired feel keeps you moving, and you can expect to burn up to 600 calories during a single, intense session. If you have no previous dance experience, you needn't worry. People of all ages, body types, and backgrounds are drawn to Zumba classes, and most are having too much fun to pay attention to your less-than-stellar moves.
Martial arts classes teach you to discipline your body and your mind, often combining physical routines with meditation and reflection. There are numerous styles of martial arts, including judo, taekwondo, tai chi, and jujitsu. The maneuvers you learn in these sessions has a practical aspect as well. It can be used in self-defense if you are ever attacked.
If you still aren't certain about which class you should take, inquire as to whether you can attend one class free of charge. Many fitness centers and small gyms are more than happy to invite you for a complementary session. This gives you an opportunity to meet would-be classmates and to get a feel for the trainers and intensity that you can expect to work with. You can also get a good idea about the average age groups that attend each class. Finally, it allows you to speak directly with people who can give you firsthand recommendations.
This is just a small selection of the choices that await you. Whether you hope to improve your endurance, strengthen your core muscles, or blast away excess pounds, take comfort in knowing that you can do so while actually enjoying yourself. Contact your neighborhood gym or rec center to obtain a schedule of classes. Remember, fitness can be fun!