We all know that swimming is a great, low-impact, full-body workout. But it’s not the only way to get in shape in the water. Over the last few years, traditional strength training, cardio workouts, and even yoga have taken to the water to deliver a form of exercise that is easy on the joints and effective at toning and strengthening the muscles. Sure, there’s water aerobics. But there are also a handful of other fitness styles that have taken the plunge into the pool, creating an entirely new experience for some of your favorite group exercises classes.
Here’s an introduction to five popular group fitness classes that you wouldn’t expect to take place in a pool:
Aqua Zumba adds a fun challenge to one of the most popular group exercise classes in the world. The concept and moves are the same as in a traditional Zumba class, but the extra resistance created by pushing against the water adds a great strength-training element to the workout. The class is held in shallow water (about chest height for the average participant) and the instructor is positioned near the ledge of the pool (so that everyone can see her movements and follow instruction). Aqua Zumba is described as a fun pool party- where you don’t even realize that you get a great workout.
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When you’ve been stuck in the same fitness routine for a while, finding some inspiration can be just the ticket to shake things up. Let’s face it: when we get bored we’re much more likely to quit. Changing things up could make you more likely to stick with exercise, whether it’s trying out a new group exercise class or learning a new sport. Spending time with other fit-minded individuals can also provide a major dose of motivation and help you break out of a fitness rut.
Here are five different fitness-focused events happening in the summer of 2014 that will enable you to network with others, make new friends, and discover the latest trends in fitness:
When & Where: June 6-8, Park City, Utah
Who attends: Healthy living bloggers and readers, anyone with a love for food and fitness
The Details: The Blend Retreat is back for a second year in Park City, Utah (in the gorgeous Canyons Resort) and is sponsored by Silk. It’s a weekend for like-minded individuals from all around the country to come together for three days of fun, great food, fitness and friendship. A ticket to the retreat gets you three meals (two breakfasts and a 5-course gourmet dinner), a cocktail reception with free drinks, coffee and tea all weekend, two sponsored snack breaks, a guided hike with pre- and post-hike snacks, two bootcamp-style workouts led by qualified fitness instructors, a t-shirt, an amazing swag bag filled with products from over 25 different vendors and entry into a closing ceremony raffle with big ticket items from various sponsors. For more information and to register, visit Blend Retreat’s website.
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I recently met a new friend who told me about a fun, unique cardio “class” that she attends every week called Dance Walk. This is exactly what it sounds like: a combination of dancing and walking (think Parkour meets Prancercise). Brooke Null, owner of Hooped, leads this Dance Walk group in Boulder, Colorado every Wednesday morning and she first learned about this new fitness phenomenon after seeing this video created by television reporter (and Dance Walker) Ben Aaron.
Null explained, and Aaron demonstrated, that to participate you just need to make a playlist of songs (that are fun to dance to), headphones and the inhibition to just let go. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous before my first Dance Walk experience. Would I be comfortable dancing around town in front of a bunch of strangers?
Within thirty seconds of Dance Walking, I forgot about all of those nerves and just allowed myself to let the music move me. I, along with a group of seven other men and women, danced our way around the streets of downtown Boulder for a full hour. Some people stopped and stared at us or laughed, others paid us no attention at all. Some took out their phones to take pictures or video, and almost every single person smiled. Some people even joined in for a few seconds and then went back to what they were doing.
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Have you ever tried to motivate those around to get active and received a less-than-desirable response? This happens to me all the time, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying; I’ve just changed my approach.
When you’re passionate about health, it’s natural to take interest in the health of others. However, doing so without tact is unwise. If you try and force someone to come to join you chances are you’ll scare them off, which is the opposite of what you want.
One simple way I’ve found that makes exercise more fun is to make it a challenge or a game. For instance, parents can challenge their kids to pick up all the loose toys around the house. The winner receives an appropriate reward be it a trip to the zoo or a special outing to their favorite restaurant.
For couples without kids, challenging each other with little contests can be a great way to inspire each other toward health and foster intimacy. On a recent jog with my husband, I suggested a sprint challenge. Whoever won two sprints out of three got to decide where we ate that night. My husband won by a long shot, so Chipotle for dinner it was; although I think we both won with that healthy dinner choice.
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