Much of the country currently remains in the grasp of old man winter. However, as far away as it may seem now, spring will eventually roll around — even if the official season start date comes replete with piles of dirty snow in every parking lot.
For many, spring is the time for getting into shape before the bare-almost-all-summer season rolls around. Grinding away on the treadmill all winter no doubt has most folks ready for a change in their workout routine. Why not indulge in one of these hot new fitness trends to bust winter boredom and blues and take getting summer-ready to the next level?
1. A New Kick
Most everyone has taken their share of kickboxing classes by age 24 or so, but while the classes offered at most gyms provide great cardio, not too many of us feel much safer walking home at night after simply following a highly-choreographed routine. Let’s face it: As effective as they are at burning calories, many cardio-kick classes offer little in the way of practical self-defense.
Instead, why not opt for a Muay Thai or Capoeira class to get fit while also gaining street smarts? Muay Thai originated in Thailand in ancient days when warring factions still did battle by hand-to-hand combat. Capoeira developed over the last two centuries in Brazil, and combines practical martial arts skills performed in a way that the practice resembles a dance as much as it resembles combat.
Move over, Zumba. Bokwa, a funky new and fresh dance workout, has arrived. Zumba primarily incorporates Latin music with a global influence, while Bokwa features the sounds of today’s hottest hits right off the Hip-Hop Top 20 list. Because participants jam out to popular tunes they hear daily while following their instructor’s choreography or adding a personal touch by modifying it a bit, Bokwa feels less like a workout and more like a party.
Like Zumba, Bokwa instructors must seek their license through other professionals already credentialed in the field. Be on the lookout for gyms that offer Bokwa classes with instructors certified in the art to enjoy the authentic experience.
3. Have a Blast
Not everyone gets down to popular rap and hip-hop tunes. Other options allow you to burn calories with more classic dance fare spanning multiple eras of big-screen boogie numbers. If dances like the Charleston and Lindy Hop sound like a classy sort of way to get in better shape, say hello to Louis Van Amstel, inventor of LaBlast Fitness.
A professional dance champion and choreographer, Louis Van Amstel and other licensed LaBlast instructors lead classes incorporating everything from ballroom swing to disco. Though the dances may sound like blasts from the past, it turns out most modern fitness enthusiasts enjoy getting their old-school groove on while burning fat and toning muscle.
4. Get Weighty
Has your tried-and-true cardio routine maxed out in its ability to get your heart really pumping? Try incorporating some weights into your usual routine. Doing so amps up the intensity and the calorie-burn quotient of just about any low-impact cardio workout.
Going for a walk? Carry a small pair of hand weights and vigorously pump the arms while striding around the block. Planning 20 minutes on the stair-climbing machine? Try a weighted vest on for size to substantially increase the difficulty of the climb.
- 5. Cooler Runnings
Aqua aerobics classes aren’t just for grandma anymore. These days, fitness trainers and coaches of professional athletes incorporate aqua training for the myriad of health benefits it provides.
Water does add buoyancy to the body, resulting in less pressure on painful arthritic or injured joints, but it also adds a dimension of resistance training to activities normally performed only for improving cardiovascular fitness. Take the popular new trend of running on a treadmill in water — the resistance of the water builds and strengthens leg muscles in a fashion similar to running through wet sand.
6. Hit the Playground
How many kids engage in regular exercise? These days, with the advent of iPads and cellphones, the answer is “not enough.” However, older generations fondly remember the days when the playground was the place to be and when fitness came to them as easily as climbing up and down the monkey bars.
Don’t give up the playground after age 18, as the place remains a fitness cornucopia those of all ages can enjoy for free. Run laps around the park, stopping for some triceps dips on the benches surrounding the softball diamonds. You can perform picnic bench squats and do some pullups on the monkey bars. Get playful!
7. Give Yoga a New Twist
The centuries’ old practice of yoga never stops evolving. Master yogis love building their practices with new techniques to keep fitness fun.
Those who scroll social media solely to see other peoples’ cat pics will adore doing yoga with cats, a class now offered at a myriad of Humane Society locations for a small donation. Some facilities host similar classes with pups. Those possessing a ton of body confidence may find naked yoga relaxing and cleansing, and those who lack a sense of vertigo can fly high in aerial yoga workouts.
Make Spring 2019 the Fittest Season Yet
After a winter of cabin fever, who doesn’t need to mix their routines up a bit? Draw inspiration from this post, or go crazy getting creative on your own. As long as you have creativity and motivation, you can enjoy achieving fitness while still having fun.