Break the Routine in Aerobic ExerciseEn Español (Spanish Version)
News reports will often remind you that, despite the known benefits of physical activity (namely, boosted self-esteem and a reduced risk of dying prematurely), more and more Americans are leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Some people are not sure what types of exercise to do. Others stop exercising because they become tired of their routine or feel they are not slimming down as quickly as they would like. In any case, getting and staying in shape does not need to be a tedious chore. At gyms across the country, a crop of fun and challenging classes are available for just about any athlete.
What’s Out There
You should look forward to your workout. When you consider all the different types of innovative classes you can choose from, you have no excuse not to. Here are some examples of what may be available at a gym near you:
This is a popular choice for people who seek a powerful cardio workout but also want to enjoy what they are doing. There is an abundance of nontraditional options, including classes where you will get fit to jazz, show tunes, or funky pop. You could also take classes to learn how to groove as your favorite stars do in their music videos. For those who have a penchant for ethnic-style music and moves, there are all sorts of classes to select from, such as:
- Belly dancing—combining Indian culture with a modern style, for the exotic and sensual minded
- Hip-hop funk—high-energy classes to the beat of funk, house, and hip-hop music
- Capoeira/Maculele—exhilarating classes set to Afro-Brazilian rhythm
- Tango/Salsa—Latin-style classes that are demanding, yet a lot of fun
- Caribbean rhythm—incorporating reggae, calypso, and soca
- Flamenco—seductive and invigorating Spanish-style classes
A variety of classes are out there for those bold individuals who want a challenging power workout unlike anything else. For one, there are classes that have you jamming with jump ropes. Believe it or not, you will work extremely hard if you take this type of class. Another option is boot camp (think military-style). This type of class combines drills with intense strength training. What’s more, there are classes that combine martial arts with boxing to give you a fantastic cardio workout.
Water Fitness Classes
Regardless of your swimming experience, there are plenty of trendy aerobics classes for you to “get your feet wet” in. For instance, kickboxing and tai chi classes may be offered in the pool. There are also more general water aerobics classes available.
The list may seem overwhelming. But, if you just try one or two, you are bound to figure out what is right for you. Ask your gym manager, check online or with your local YMCA for information on what programs are available in your area.
But Don’t Forget the Old Standbys
Of course, if you try a new type of exercise, after a while, you run the same risks of losing interest or becoming frustrated. Remember to mix things up a bit or just switch to more traditional activities such as running or bike riding for a while. Additionally, it’s wise to take a day off after you’ve worked out on three or four consecutive days and vary the length of your sessions.
Keep in Mind
Try to achieve at least 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week to help prevent chronic diseases and promote health. To avoid soreness and injury, make changes in your exercise habits slowly. In addition to keeping fit, you should also be eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and abstaining from smoking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Finally, talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine if you are a man aged 45 or older, a woman aged 55 or older, or if you have risk factors for coronary artery disease (eg, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes).
American College of Sports Medicine
The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
Public Heath of Canada Healthy Living Unit
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Lee I-M, Sesso HD, Oguma Y, Paffenbarger RS. Relative intensity of physical activity and risk of coronary heart disease. Circulation. 2003;107:1110.
Physical Activity Among Adults: US, 2000. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ . Accessed June 25, 2003.
US Department of Health and Human Services. Be active your way: a fact sheet for adults. US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/factSheetAdults.aspx. Updated October 17, 2010. Accessed November 8, 2010.
Last reviewed November 2010 by Brian Randall, MD
Last updated Updated: 11/9/2010
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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