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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Hop, skip and pump

Petrina D’Souza, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 01, 2013
First Published: 18:02 IST(1/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:15 IST(2/4/2013)

Y our New Year’s resolution might have been to get fitter, but you haven’t made your first trip to the gym yet. The reason — you aren’t zealous enough to subject your body to those heavy duty workouts. But what if there is a way to get fitter without actually doing those hard-core exercises? Try out some of these fun workouts.

Zumba
“Zumba is a Latin-inspired fitness programme, done with music and easy-to-follow dance steps. It helps build stamina,” says fitness expert Hetall Madhiwalla. Created by dancer and choreographer Alberto Perez during the 1990s, Zumba choreography incorporates hip-hop, salsa, martial arts, Bollywood and belly dance, among other dance forms. “As Zumba offers different options, it is safe for all ages,” says Althea Shah, fitness expert.

Benefits: An hour long Zumba workout can help you burn 300 to 600 calories. “And since Zumba is an exercise in disguise, you don’t even realise that you are working out, as it creates a party–like atmosphere,” says Madhiwalla. The entire body is exercising during the sessions, which help in burning extra fat. “As all the different rhythms in Zumba engage the core muscles, one’s body reaps the benefit of a shapely mid-section,” explains Shah.

Swiss ball workouts
A Swiss ball (also called stability ball or exercise ball), allows a form of workout in which the body indulges in rigorous muscle movements, responding to the instability of the ball. The ball is the equipment used for exercising. Compared to exercising on a flat surface, this workout engages more muscles.

You can exercise using the Swiss ball at home as well. Just choose a ball as per your height — 55cm for those between 4’11” and 5’4”, 65cm for people between 5’4” and 5’7” and 75cm for people between 5’11” and 6’7”. Regular exercises like push-ups, crunches, triceps, dips and squats can be tried at home, using the exercise ball as a support.

Benefits: You can improve strength and balance with an exercise ball. “Stability balls are great for getting back into shape after an injury because they can reduce muscle and spinal strain during certain movements,” says Althea Shah. They are effective at targeting those muscles that are essential for body stability and the right posture. “Ball exercises also help build flexibility and stamina,” adds fitness trainer Jitendra Patil.

Belly dancing
If you’re determined to tone up your abs, this one’s for you. “While you’re wiggling and jiggling your hips, you’re getting a good ab workout that sculpts almost every single muscle in your core,” says Althea Shah. Just 10 minutes a day can help you get a toned stomach.

Benefits: Besides being a fun workout and something new to learn, belly dancing has a lot of benefits. It improves body posture, tones the muscles and increases the metabolic rate.

Also, the fast movements of the hips and shoulders get your heart pumping, offering cardiovascular benefits. “You can burn up to 300 calories per hour, depending on the intensity of your dancing,” says Shah. It also helps reduce the stress levels, as belly dancing requires a lot of concentration and a relaxed mindset.

Aqua aerobics
If you are a swimmer or love being in the pool, aqua aerobics is a good option to help you get fitter. Aqua or water aerobics involves aerobic exercise in shallow water. You need not know how to swim to participate.

Benefits: It is an excellent method to burn unwanted flab from the body and build inner strength. Water aerobics also increases muscle strength because water provides a natural resistance to your movements. It improves breathing patterns, as your lungs are forced to work harder due to the water’s pressure. The use of water in this workout also reduces the risk of a muscle or joint injury.

Masala Bhangra
This is the new entrant to dance-fitness workouts. Created and designed by fitness expert Sarina Jain, it combines cardiovascular exercise with dance moves. “It incorporates high energy bhangra and Bollywood dance movements in a simple fitness format,” explains Hetall Madhiwalla.

Benefits: You can burn up to 500 calories per class, which means you could lose weight. “Thousands of people have become physically active,” says Madhiwalla. The workout helps tone and condition the body and builds stamina.


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