As a fitness professional for more than 30 years, I have seen a lot of exercise programs come and go. More have gone than stayed. It can be difficult to determine which new trend is best for you and your lifestyle.
In the 1980’s I started teaching high impact aerobics where a good class was measured by the number of people who dropped out — or the number of people who could not keep up. Aerobics instructors in the ‘80s would typically do can cans for a minimum of 10 minutes straight. For those of you who don’t know, that’s jumping on one leg doing a knee lift, jumping again and doing a kick. That was a trend that didn’t stick around.
In the 1990s, I owned my own aerobics studio and taught everything from step, to slide, to Spinning, and trained with the creator of that program, Johnny G. I was teaching what is now called Soul Cycle decades ago. It was fabulous and I got really familiar with a bike seat, but how much can you do on an indoor bicycle?
A variety of other fabulous workout programs were prominent in 2000-2009. And then I found Zumba® fitness. What I liked about the Latin-based dance exercise program was that it was an interval training workout. There are high intensity moves for one song, followed by slower, more melodic moves in the next song. In 2010, I helped develop a program called Zumba® in the Circuit which combines much-needed strength training moves incorporated with cardiovascular dance, with no rest in between. Thirty percent more calories are burned in a circuit training workout than a traditional workout.
Zumba® in the Circuit is my favorite workout because it provides a muscular conditioning, cardiovascular workout and stretching in less than an hour. But what’s best for you? Answer: A variety of exercises that will help you become more functionally fit. Running several miles a day, several days a week, is good for cardio, but what about strength training and stretching? Doing only one activity can contribute to overuse injuries.
The most important thing to remember when selecting a workout program is to find several things you enjoy. Mix it up. Depending on your schedule and what is available to you, some days you could go for a nice long walk or jog. Other days could be spent in the gym weight training. TRX is a great work out, as well. Walking, dancing, and bike riding are all wonderfully effective forms of exercise too. By switching up your workouts you are creating a stronger, more flexible body that can prevent injuries rather than create them. Including some form of stretching, strength training and cardiovascular exercise every week is optimal. Do something, anything every day!
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