There are increasingly more and more options available when you look at the fitness classes or exercise programs offered at your local fitness center, YMCA, Community Center, or Community Campus. Many of these programs are also offered through on-line programs or even as TV games – but without some of the benefits of an in-person program. Here are a few of the reasons why you might want to try each of them.
Boot Camp programs are modified after military boot camps or basic training programs. They are high intensity and promote cardio, strength, endurance, and flexibility. You won’t get bored with Boot Camp programs because you are always changing what you are doing and they often incorporate both indoor and outdoor activities – when the weather permits. These programs do not require special equipment or clothing – just a good pair of workout shoes. You may feel like you have gone back to school gym class, because the programs incorporate many basic calisthenics like jumping jacks or push-ups.
Another program that only requires a good pair of shoes is Core Training. With Core Training you are conditioning the middle body muscles to work in harmony. This includes the pelvis, abdomen, hips, and lower back. When your core is in harmony you have better balance and stability, often an issue for older adults. Completing Core Training programs will make it easier for you to do any type of physical activity and even basic living tasks.
Spinning programs do require a special bike – so they need to be participated in at a center or fitness program. These bikes can be adjusted for beginners and are adaptable to individual fitness levels. They combine basic indoor cycling with motivational coaching, breathing awareness, and heart rate training. It is a great non-impact cardio program. No additional equipment is required to get started, but you may decide to purchase cycling shorts with padding, moisture wicking shirts, and cycling shoes — if you decide you enjoy it.
The Zumba program is Latin-inspired dance fitness that combines fast and slow rhythms with international music. WebMD tells us that a benefit of Zumba fitness over other dance style classes is that it focuses on only 4 or 5 steps per song that are repeated over and over. So it is easier to learn and you can be a beginner and not feel intimidated by someone who has been coming for a while. Like most cardiovascular workout programs – Zumba classes burn calories, can decrease your blood pressure and body fat, increases stamina and bone density, and can improve your balance and muscular tone. You can tone your legs, arms, abdomen, and gluts. One of the great benefits of the Zumba program is the social aspect. Instructors often use a party atmosphere to make the classes fun and participants find that they forget they are exercising.
The benefits of all of these programs except Spinning, is that you don’t really need special equipment to get started and you can often try an on-line version at home to see if you enjoy it. As these programs are typically high intensity – you should talk with your physician before beginning a new exercise program and be sure to drink plenty of water while taking part. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 16 – 20 ounces of water a couple hours before exercising, and then another 3 – 8 ounces every 10 to 15 minutes you exercise. Sports type beverages should only be required if you are exercising for over 60 minutes.
Written by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.
American College of Sports Medicine, Top 20 Fitness Trends, Selecting and Effectively Using Hydration for Fitness, http://www.acsm-healthfitness.org.
Mayo Clinic, Core Exercises, http://www.mayoclinic.com/.
WebMD, Top 20 Fitness Trends for 2011: http://www.webmd.com/.