Four fun ways to move more this winter.
Exercise routines are great except for that “routine” bit. If you’re bored silly at the idea of another step aerobics class or treadmill run, exercise your right to have fun. Here are four fresh workouts guaranteed to shake out the sameness and get you sweating again. And have no fear—we’ve checked them out to make sure they’re just right for movers of all levels. (Of course you should always get your doctor’s okay before beginning any new exercise routine.)
Don’t let the fact that this workout was derived from Navy SEALs training intimidate you. TRX Suspension Training, which uses specialized straps, lets you dial up or down the challenge level to your liking. Using gravity and your own body weight, TRX moves help you develop strength, balance, flexibility, and core stability all at once, says John Rowley, a New York City–based fitness expert who is also the Wellness Director for the International Sports Science Association, which instructs and certifies personal trainers.
Boredom-busting factor: You’ll walk out of a class feeling like a Navy SEAL, of course! Yes, it’s tough, but you can start out at whatever level you’re comfortable with, and the challenges are nearly limitless as you get stronger.
Find it: Many gyms offer TRX classes, or you can find local TRX trainers who organize small-group or one-on-one sessions. You can do the workouts at home, but you’ll need to buy the equipment. (A home kit that includes six routines runs $200.) Go to trxtraining.com for more info.
If this sounds like you’re doing a trapeze act from the Cirque du Soleil, you’re essentially right. Suspended in silky, strong, hammocklike loops, you’re able to move into yoga poses, including inversions (going upside down), more deeply without putting added pressure on your spine, says MaryGrace Naughton, a yoga instructor at Miraval spa in Tucson, Arizona. With the support of the silks, you’re building strength and flexibility. Aerial yoga is completely safe (and doable) for most people.
Boredom-busting factor: Given the shift in spatial orientation, it’s easy to forget you’re actually working out.
Find it: Go to aerialyoga.com for information and to find classes near you. You can also search “aerial silk classes” and your city to find similar workshops.
If you’ve tried Zumba, Doonya may be your next new dance-workout obsession. Developed by Priya Pandya and Kajal Desai, Doonya (which means “world”) combines hypnotic, exotic Bollywood dance moves with strength and conditioning for a class that feels more like a party.
Boredom-busting factor: It’s all about the music and the Indian culture, say the founders. “Students embrace silliness and expression, while also targeting each major muscle group and burning up to 800 calories.”
Find it: For now, Doonya classes are concentrated in the New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles areas, but DVDs are available online or at doonya.com. At the Doonya site you can also find short workout segments to try at home.
You can call CrossFit the anti-gym gym class; it combines a variety of exercises at different intensities—with the idea that your body is never allowed to get used to a challenge before you’re on to the next one. The aim is to improve your functional fitness—agility, strength, balance, coordination, and endurance, to name a few aspects—to make you stronger for everyday activities (think lugging grocery bags or playing backyard games with your family). CrossFit is about pushing yourself to your own limits each time, says Susana Hodgers, a CrossFit trainer in San Francisco. There’s even a version designed just for kids.
Boredom-busting factor: You can work out for 20 minutes—or an hour. Your WOD, or workout of the day, is never quite the same, so the phrase “on your toes” comes to mind.
Find it: At crossfit.com, you can find locations where CrossFit is offered. You can also follow the WODs from the site.