First came yoga, then power yoga followed by hot yoga. Aerobics was followed by zumba, and taekwondo by kickboxing. With easily bored urbanites always looking for new ways to make their workouts interesting, there's now a new option.
Over the past year, fitness classes have been combining dance moves, traditional cardio exercises and weight-training routines to create combination workout schedules. Most of these are intense spells that can burn hundreds of calories an hour and induce weight loss, strengthen the core, improve body strength, stamina and metabolism, and help tone and shape up faster.
Beat Bump, for instance, is a mix of dance, weight-training and cardio exercises. In a Robus Fit class, one trains with kettle bells, swings and beach balls. Barre Yoga is a mix of yoga, zumba and ballet. And in Aqua Tango you and your partner learn Tango moves and lifts in water, simultaneously losing weight and shaping up.
Mumbai resident Shabnam Khakkar joined Beat Bump classes three months ago and is happy with the results. "It's fun and has made exercising effortless," she says. "People opt for these classes because they want to try something new. Doing the same thing every day can get monotonous and boring. These classes motivate people more than a usual routine at the gym," says Leena Mogre, director of Leena Mogre's Fitness. "Moreover, you meet a lot more people and get motivated by their performances."
However, doctors sound a word of caution. "These workouts can definitely burn a lot of calories in a short period of time," says Behram Pardiwalla, consultant physician and coordinator, department of medicine at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai "Nevertheless, such high-intensity routines could be harmful to those with undiagnosed heart disease, asthma or high blood pressure." "It is crucial to get a complete health check-up done, including that for heart, brain and the nervous system to rule out any serious condition that may worsen due to exertion." says Dr Deepak Chaudhary, director, Safdarjung Hospital's Sports Injury Centre, Delhi. The government-run hospital treats 10% of its patients for injuries caused while working out.
"These are people who have pulled their muscles, dislocated a shoulder or developed Tennis Elbow," adds Chaudhary. Even those with a sedentary lifestyles should not opt for these workouts straight away. "One must ease into these fitness routines gradually," says Pardiwalla. Start with jogging and cycling for a week or two before opting for these. Stretching before and after a class is a must to avoid any major injuries, says Dr Mansi Bhartiya, consultant physiotherapist. Also, one should always discuss any kind of medical condition with the trainers. (With inputs from Simran Ahuja)