If hitting the treadmill and tackling dumbbells isn’t your idea of fun, take heart. These innovative fitness techniques prove your gym can now also be your dance floor.
The thought of hoisting yourself atop a pole, à la certain ladies of the street, may shock your parents, but exotic pole dance instructor Shilpa Rane insists it’s not scandalous.
Tutoring dancers between 18 to 53, she says the exercise boosts confidence, apart from body strength. “You begin to feel sexy, and comfortable with your body,” she says. Rane first teaches basic burlesque dance movements that help improve posture.
When you finally get to pole position, the workout exercises the upper body, core, arms, legs and butt. “It’s an hour long class, that will aid inch loss, but you must balance it out with cardio and a diet.”
Jumping around, shouting and stomping sounds like an average kiddie tantrum, but it’s also a ‘dancercise’ called African dance. “It’s an aerobic exercise where the heart rate goes up, you start sweating and burning calories. There’s lots of stomping and arm movements… It’s a little wild,” instructor Sonal Toprani says.
Toprani adds that after a while, even the more reserved students get into the act, “You don’t have to worry about being a great dancer. It’s about having fun. After watching people shouting and yelling, even the shy students loosen up.”
While the hour-long class promises to burn about 450-600 calories, it’s not held regularly.
Also, since the workout is hard on the knees, they also have low impact options for those with knee problems. Latin flavours Zumba, the Latin American exercise form, mixes fitness techniques with peppy music and traditional dance forms.
“The company Zumba Fitness from the US travel to various countries to set it up, and I brought them down to India last October,” says Kirti Nagpal, who now conducts Zumba classes for beginners in the city. Every song is different and has been composed especially for Zumba.
The hyper-energetic hour long session is a high-impact workout focusing on cardio and toning, and even has a lighter regimen for kids. “But people with major back problems or weak knees should avoid it,” Nagpal says.
Not so tough
Capoeira, the Brazilian martial arts form might look daunting, but fitness enthusiast Salonee Gadgil has stripped it down to help amateurs too.
“I’ve been training at the Group Centre for Capoeira India, and wanted people to experience Capoeira without the martial arts intensity,” she says, adding, “As a workout, it can be as intense as you want it to be,” she says, adding, “It’s also a complete fitness regimen because it makes you sweat and also trains muscles without using supplementary weights. Some instructors even do it till the age of 85.”