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Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 12:12 am

Making exercise fun

The Daughters of the Dance group rehearses.


Many of us make a list of New Year’s resolutions that may or may not be attainable, and all too often people vow to go to the gym or lose weight, both of which are rather vague. According to the Fitness Industry Association, most of the gym members who sign up in January have quit or stopped going to the gym after six months.

Why do people give up on their resolutions of getting fit and healthy so soon?  Perhaps new gym members are intimidated by others who are already fit and thin, wear trendy clothes or know how to calculate their optimum heart rate before doing a cardio workout. The phrase “going to work out” usually brings to mind visions of the traditional gym routine that consists of cardio and lifting weights, but that may not be the best option for everyone. Perhaps the resolution itself isn’t flawed, but the manner in which the resolution is carried out is. In order to make fitness a sustainable part of life, it may be time for a paradigm shift regarding exercise. Can exercise be fun?

For those who are looking for something different than a traditional workout at the gym, here are some alternative ideas to improve health and fitness:

Belly dancing, or Arabic dance, originated in Egypt and emphasizes movements of the torso. Classes start at the beginner level and special clothes or shoes are not required because you dance in bare feet.

Zumba is an aerobic dance fitness program inspired by various styles of Latin American dance and performed primarily to Latin American dance music. Shoes made especially for Zumba dance make it easier to perform the moves; however, they are not required.

This is not your mother’s Jazzercise. Today’s Jazzercise is still based in dance but fuses cardio, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, kickboxing and modern dance to keep you motivated and keep your body breaking through those plateaus. No special equipment is required.

Water is calming and offers buoyancy for people who have joint pain. Exercise classes in the water have endless variations from dance, aerobics, and power pump to yoga and Qigong.

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that connects the mind and body. It can also be found in a variety of forms, ranging from very calming and quiet to incredibly challenging. There’s also prenatal yoga for women preparing for childbirth and assistive yoga for those who are most comfortable participating from a seated position or need a chair nearby for certain balance poses.

CrossFit is unique and practical and goes beyond exercise. As defined by founder Greg Glassman, “CrossFit is a lifestyle characterized by safe, effective exercise and sound nutrition. CrossFit can be used to accomplish any goal, from improved health to weight loss to better performance. The program works for everyone – people who are just starting out and people who have trained for years.”

Exercise doesn’t have to be hard, and it can be enjoyable to both your body and mind. There are many possibilities right here in the Springfield area. Find the right fit and you might find that you smile more, which is also good exercise for the face.


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