Summer is almost here! And of course, for many people, with summer comes shorter, skimpier clothing and the big one – swimsuits! But even if that isn’t your thing, summer is a great time to get up and get fit. With the weather looking spectacular, there’s added incentive to head outside and do something fun. Plus, there’s always benefit to regular exercise – why not make it fun?
While there are ways to work out that you may already know about (I’m talking running, swimming, biking…), it’s summer – so why not try something new? Here are some methods of exercise you may not have heard of, or may not have tried.
◊ For: The Girl who wants cardio but dreads the treadmill
◊ Try: Zumba
I tried Zumba for the first time earlier this month and I was immediately hooked. It’s exhilarating and fun and after that hour was up, I didn’t want to leave! Zumba is a dance class that borrows moves from Latin, Bhangra and Dancehall styles to create a unique cardio experience. There is a Zumba class for every need, from resistance Zumba to water Zumba – even Zumba for kids! As for me, I just like the plain old original flavor.
You can find out more about Zumba on their official website, where you can find a class or buy their official DVDs.
◊ For: The girl looking for a unique, low-impact workout
◊ Try: Bellydancing
Belly dance – a strange thing to call it since you use your entire body – has an uncertain origin. The name belly dance is generally dated to Chicago in 1893, but it certainly predates that. It involves isolating different parts of your body to dance, while focusing on the hip and pelvic area. I have found that doing belly dance does wonders for your body confidence, and can make you feel gorgeous and seductive at a range of ages and sizes.
Bellydancing is a non-impact exercise, so if you’re recovering from an injury or you’re just getting on the fitness wagon, this is a great place to start! Isolating the torso emphasizes flexibility, and it can also build strength in your upper body, arms and shoulders.
◊ For: The girl who wants to play like a kid again
◊ Try: Hooping
“Hooping” is the term for hula hooping with large, weighted hoops. While you can buy weighted (and collapsable) hoops online, you can make your own pretty easily as well. I know that I had difficulties hula hooping as a child, but the advantages to larger, weighted hoops is that they rotate more slowly, making them easier to keep up. Plus, the weight gives you great exercise and a nice massage! (Trust me, I speak from experience)
To make it even more fun, I like to play music from my child hood – hooping to Destiny’s Child and the Spice Girls does wonders for a bad mood. I’m even trying to figure out how to hula hoop while doing the Macarena. We’ll see how that goes.
For more info on Hooping, check out Hooping.org.
◊ For: The girl who wants to ramp up her yoga
◊ Try: Bikram Yoga
This one is on my to-do list! Bikram Yoga (also known as “hot yoga”) is a yoga practice originating in the early 1970s that emphasizes an unchanging sequence of postures in a heated room. Often times the room can be heated up to 100 degrees.
Of all the exercises I have listed, this one is probably the most strenuous and initially difficult. Even if you’re a master yogi, proceed with caution in your first Bikram session. Dress lightly and bring water, because you’re certainly going to sweat. Stay mindful of your body, and stop if you feel dizzy, light headed or tired.
For more info on Bikram and to find a class near you, check out their official website.
Do you have any fun fitness ideas you want to try? Other plans? Let me know in the comments!