November 14, 2012
Is your fitness routine in a rut? Are you struggling to find the motivation to reach your health and fitness goals? Let 2013 be the year that inspires a happier, healthier, fitter you by exploring fun new ways to get active. Whether you’re looking for something exciting and playful or something a bit more challenging and intense, these unique fitness classes will have you burning calories in new ways you may have never thought possible!
Send your practice into flight (and I’m not just talking about dakasana, airplane pose)! Part yoga, part acrobatics, this class allows you to explore asanas from a whole new perspective through the use of a suspended hammock constructed out of the same type of silk material often used in aerial performances. This supportive apparatus enables you to feel confident and experience less joint compression when exploring inversions like handstand, while the stretchy material allows you to find greater depth and range of motion when moving into hip-opening postures like half pigeon and backbends like bow pose. And, as if the ability to creatively explore new movements while enhancing both strength and flexibility wasn’t enough to get you excited about going airborne, the pure bliss you’ll experience in savasana (corpse pose) while enveloped in a cocoon of fabric and suspended in air is a sensation like no other!
Work your entire body by working against gravity! The Gravity Training System® (GTS) combines cable pulleys with a glideboard that is similar to a Pilates Reformer, yet the central tower of the machine offers the option to choose from eight different levels of incline resistance to make each exercise as easy or as challenging as you want. Gravity® classes provide a customizable, total-body workout that improves muscular strength and endurance, while also challenging core stability and enhancing joint range of motion. And with the ability to add on different accessories like the scrunch pad to perform pikes or lunges, or the three-grip bar to perform three different variations of pull-ups, there’s no shortage of exercise options that can be performed on this versatile piece of fitness equipment. These classes will have you breaking a serious sweat while helping you to meet your personal health and fitness goals.
What do you get when you bring the hot, Latin-inspired dance moves of Zumba® to a cool pool atmosphere? The answer is one seriously fun (and wet) workout! This class puts a unique spin on traditional aqua fitness classes by combining high-energy music with exciting dance-inspired moves that will have you traveling in every direction and working your entire body in a whole new way. By blending some of the familiar movements associated with aquatic exercise, like cross-country skiing and jumping jacks, with merengue, salsa and Cumbia-infused moves and rhythms that are purposefully modified for the pool environment, this class provides a fun, party-like atmosphere that just about everyone can enjoy. Not a dancer? No problem! The fancy footwork is kept to a minimum and, because the moves are performed in the water, they are done at a slower pace than on land, making it a great option for beginners and avid Zumba enthusiasts alike. But don’t let the slightly slower pace of this class fool you—the viscosity of the water (the resistance we feel while moving in water) makes performing the movements more challenging, allowing your muscles to work hard while also reducing the impact forces on your joints.
Using an assortment of small, subtle movements set to upbeat music, this class challenges the muscles of your arms, legs, butt and core in a completely new way. Through a systematic blend of strengthening and stretching exercises using the ballet barre and other small, portable pieces of equipment (such as light handweights and tubing), Pure Barre® provides a great total-body workout that enhances muscular endurance and flexibility through joint-friendly, low-impact movements. Whether performing exercises in a standing or seated position or somewhere in between, the focus is always on maintaining proper alignment and core stabilization, while blending elements from Pilates and ballet with stationary strengthening exercises like planks to create a fun, yet effective workout experience.
From pole fitness to Crossfit to kettlebells, there’s no shortage of fun and effective ways to have fun and get fit, all while enjoying the camaraderie of others. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and try something new!
Jessica Matthews, MS, E-RYTContributor
Jessica Matthews, M.S., E-RYT is assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College. As a leading fitness expert, writer and educator Jessica is a regular contributor to numerous publications, including Shape and Oprah.com. She holds a B.S. in physical education teacher education from Coastal Carolina University and M.S. in physical education from Canisius College. She is a certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as well as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) through Yoga Alliance and trained stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga instructor. Prior to teaching at Miramar, Jessica worked full-time ACE, serving in a number of key roles including exercise physiologist, certification director and senior health and fitness editor. Her past work also includes serving as aquatics director at Conway Medical Wellness and Fitness Center and designing health and physical education curriculum for grades K-12. Full Bio Jessica Matthews »