Alternative exercises add fun to fitness
Angie's List members sure do seem to have fun.
We all experience days when we get bored with our fitness routine. Lately, I've been in a rut, even though I change my workout on a regular basis. So I asked Angie's List members, employees and even my friends what fun - and often unique - ways they stay in shape.
More than a quarter of members who took a recent online Angie's List poll say they work out with family and friends. I enjoy participating in activities that don't feel like exercise, and I always have more fun and feel more motivated when someone comes along for the challenge.
Whether it's tennis, paddle boating, canoeing or participating in a hiking club, roller derby or a fitness boot camp, I've learned that Angie's List members sure do seem to have fun. But when I first heard about pole fitness classes, my jaw dropped to the floor.
After speaking to Rick James, owner of Brickhouse Fitness in Indianapolis, which offers the classes, I'm now almost convinced my friend Francis and I should try it - I just have to work up the nerve. James says there are great physical benefits for participants, such as strengthening the upper back, shoulders, arms and core.
Three years ago, Johanna Krynytzky opened highly rated Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio in St. Petersburg, Fla., to accommodate the growing number interested in taking belly dancing classes. "People come to our classes to look for an alternative to working out at the gym," she says. "They get their workout, plus meet new friends and tap into a healthy community."
Belly dancing stimulates the brain, develops coordination and tones the body, Krynytzky says. And plan to burn 400 to 600 calories per hour! If I can get sexy curves and wear a scarf that jingles around my waist, count me in.
While looking for other ways to keep me moving, one employee told me about her summer kayaking adventures and recommended I try it. I can't wait to take my 17-year-old daughter, and I'm sure we'll have a blast. It's a great cardio workout, and we can strengthen our back and shoulders, too.
If you're not into pole fitness, belly dancing or kayaking, look for other ways in your city you and your friends can be active. Some Angie's List members say they enjoy walking with friends and family. Annual walks and races, such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and March of Dimes' March for Babies, are great ways to catch up with friends and be fit together. This month, Angie's List employees will participate in the American Heart Association's Heart Walk. It's just one of many we do throughout the year, and I plan to be there as a way to kick off my year to fitness fun. Thanks for the suggestions!