If you are like me, finding an exercise routine that works and is enjoyable can be difficult. Variety is something that I need in order to stick with any physical fitness plan. Yes, I have a shelf full of exercise DVDs, but unfortunately, I don’t utilize most of them- got bored with them. I found that I move my rear when I enjoy the process and the results. Today, I would like to share five interesting, fun, and effective ways to keep in shape. I have used most of these techniques or at least some of the movements from each of them. My daughter has been in a Zumba class and was thrilled with the energy and results she gained from it. I hope you have the chance to experiment with any or all of my picks for fitness! Please share any ideas you have for keeping your body fit and beautiful.
1. Belly Dance
Though I have not been enrolled in an official belly-dance class, I have studied the movements and incorporated them in my day. No, I don’t do dances with the cute, sequined outfits; I just move my body around with or without music while I’m doing other things like, brushing my teeth, drying my hair, playing with the baby; you get the picture.
Some people are surprised when they discover the health benefits of the belly dance. Because the movements incorporate use of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, the dancer receives a wonderful, low-impact work out for the lower body. Other areas of the body that are greatly impacted are the core, back, arm, and torso muscles. The fluid motion of the dance gives you a controlled-almost isometric- work out that quickly tones areas like the obliques (the part that causes muffin top), and lower abdominals.
You will also notice an improved posture and less back pain from the controlled movements. A strong back prevents common back injuries that can take you out of regular activities if bad enough. The belly rolling motion also aids in digestion by helping your body move food through faster.
Girl’s Best Friend
Because belly dance flows naturally with a woman’s body, the movements are safe and are fairly easy to learn for most women. Better circulation in the abdominal region actually helps to ease pre-menstrual symptoms and even boost libido (we could all use some of that). I did belly dance while I was pregnant and loved it! The artful dance has been done as childbirth preparation for centuries. To learn more about belly dance, try or look in your local directory for classes in your area.
Though I haven’t experienced this one to the fullest yet, I have experimented with some of the martial arts aspects. “Budokon is the brainchild of Kancho (Founder) Cameron Shayne and the practice was founded in 2000. The Budokon physical practice draws upon ancient and modern yogic and martial arts styles. The foundation of the Budokon physical practice is precision, alignment and Zen mind. All Budokon techniques are designed to explore the body’s full range of motion. The practice dances between agility, control, speed, power, balance, and flow.”
What Is It?
The Yogic Series and the Budo Series are the two themes incorporated in Budokon. Both themes constantly draw from and depend on each other. The Budokon Yogic Series focuses on control, calm, power, and precision. “These techniques are uniquely different from traditional Hatha Yoga in the sense that they not only work to improve range of motion and strength, but they also explore the body’s ability to sustain another person’s body weight.” The Budokon Budo Series comes primarily from Okinawan Karate-Do, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and Olympic Style Tae Kwon Do. “The objective of this series is to teach agility, power, focus, and flow in the body and mind.” For more information about Budokon, visit http://www.budokon.com/ or order Cameron Shayne – Budokon for Beginners.
My daughter experienced this one first hand and raved about how much fun it was. She hasn’t got me to a class yet, but I’m thinking about it. “Zumba® fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy to follow moves to create a dynamic fitness program that will blow you away.” The zumba philosophy is to promote fitness through exhilarating dance movements that you can’t stop doing because it’s so remarkably fun and exciting. I remember my daughter saying that it was somewhat addicting.
Many gyms offer the classes to members, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding the program in your area. If home is your workout haven, try Zumba Fitness – Latin Workout Routine.
4. Tai Chi
I love this ancient art that incorporates gentle, flowing movements that do more than just get your body in shape; they reduce stress and give you increased oxygen through the controlled breathing techniques. I have experienced an improvement in balance as well.
The connection between mind and body is imperative for health; that is why the consistent practice of tai chi is notable for overall vitality. When we are at peace, our bodies function better resulting in strength, balance, a youthful appearance, and sustainable energy. Anyone, regardless of age or physical ability, can practice tai chi. It doesn’t take physical prowess. Rather, tai chi emphasizes technique over strength. Health benefits include, stress reduction,increased flexibility, improved muscle strength and definition, increased energy, stamina and agility, and increased feelings of well-being. Again, many gyms and martial arts studios offer classes in tai chi. I use Element: Tai Chi for Beginners at home.
5. The Household Workout
This is the one that takes a little creativity to pull off. We all have items in our homes that would make great fitness tools and makeshift equipment. Walk around your house and look for things that could possibly replace their expensive counterparts.
Stairway to Heavenly Calf Muscles – First, I love to use the stairs for calf stretching, muscle toning, and quick cardio workouts. If you don’t have them, try using stacked phone books for the same calf muscle benefits. Make sure to tape them up to create a solid surface that won’t slip.
The Rubber Ball– Squeeze a child’s rubber ball between your legs as you are working at a desk or watching TV. You can hold it for 10-15 seconds at a time or pulse for three sets of 25 counts. Trust me; you will feel the burn on this one quickly.
Soup: More than a Meal – Use soup cans as hand weights for toned arms. The small ones weigh approximately one pound each and the larger up to two.
Rope Tricks – Don’t skip a meal; skip some rope! You not only get in shape with this fitness classic, but you can have a blast doing it. Get your kids involved in your efforts by having a contest to see who can jump the longest or fastest.
Speed Cleaning Demon – Put on some fast music and challenge yourself to session of speed cleaning. Time yourself to see how quickly you can effectively get your chores done. I know mopping my kitchen floor is a super cardio and arm workout!
There are many more household items and activities you can experiment with depending on your fitness level. Just give some of these a try for a fun alternative to watching tapes and going to the gym. Be well!
**The content of this article is strictly meant to be informational and not to replace the advice from you health care provider. Always consult a doctor before engaging in any new fitness program or activity, especially if you have health problems. Women’s Life Link, its authors, and associates do not claim that any of the information given will lead to a cure or improvement of any condition or disease.