Start feeling sexy and strong with Latin dancing, or burn calories in your living room using a kettlebell. You’ll have so much fun, you’ll hardly know you’re working out. Plus, you’ll stick to it. ‘The key to getting top results and enjoying fitness is to vary your workout,’ says Libby Norris, a Toronto fitness trainer. So try one of these new exercise ideas this week!
You’ll get: Toned arms, butt, body
Why it works: This combo of regular walking and cross-country skiing burns 25 to 40 percent more calories than regular walking alone. Using poles makes walking a total body workout, helps with posture and strengthens your abs, too. ‘I was skeptical, but became a total convert,’ says Norris.
All you need: Poles are available at major sporting goods stores. Look into group classes (bring your own poles), or try an at-home DVD: Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home.
Try this move: Walking lunge: Try this indoors, too. Stand tall, feet together. With your right foot, take a step forward and bend your knee until your right thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Don’t let your knee stray past your toes. Dig your weight into the heels of your right foot as you raise up, and dig in your ‘pretend’ poles. Repeat on your left leg. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
Yoga plus weights
You’ll get: Stronger, calmer, more limber
Why it works: Vinyasa yoga with weights offers the flexibility building and core strengthening of yoga coupled with strength training. Resistance training can offset age-related muscle loss, says Norris (otherwise we lose one-quarter to one-half pound of muscle every year after the age of 25).
All you need: A pair of one- to two-kilogram dumbbells and a yoga mat, and registration in a class. At-home: DVD: Kathy Smith’s Yoga Sculpt or Denise Austin’s Yoga Body Burn.
Try this move: Chair pose with hammer curl: Hold a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet together, knees slightly bent. Keeping your chest lifted and back straight with your palms facing each other and elbows tight to your sides, curl the dumbbell toward your shoulders. Pause at the top of the curl for two counts, then lower the weights with control. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
You’ll get: Total body toning, fat loss
Why it works: Lifting kettlebells boosts functional fitness (which helps with everyday movements, such as hefting groceries) and burns up to 400 calories in 30 minutes. Be progressive, says Keli Roberts, a Pasadena, Calif., fitness educator and trainer: Add repetitions or gradually use heavier kettlebells as you get stronger.
All you need: One kettlebell (start with eight kilograms), available at most sporting goods stores. Join a group class at your gym or local rec centre, or pop in a DVD at home .
Try this move: Triceps extension: Hold the kettlebell by the handle. Press it up over your head, then lower it slowly behind your head. Bring it back up to the press position using your triceps. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
You’ll get: Better posture, total body strength
Why it works: Water’s resistance and buoyancy allows for a great workout without any stress on your joints, so it’s great for beginners. ‘You don’t even have to swim to do this,’ says Fredericton-based personal trainer Susan Cantwell, author of No More Excuses! Breakthrough Thinking for Real Weight Loss, pointing to its popularity ‘ among those with osteoarthritis.
All you need: A bathing suit and a swimming pool where classes are offered. At-home: DVD: The Noodle Workout.
Try this move: Chest press with lunge: Stand in chest-high water, with feet shoulder-width apart for stability. Holding styrofoam dumbbells in each hand at chest level, take a large step forward; at the same time, use your arms to push water away from you. Return to the start position and alternate with the other leg. Repeat 10 to 12 times on each side.
Spin and sculpt
You’ll get: A tight butt, toned arms
Why it works: Spin-and-sculpt classes fuse muscle strengthening with heart-pumping power. Hop on a stationary bike for a 45-minute ride, then pick up some weights for a 15-minute total body blast. Or cycle for five minutes, then do a resistance exercise set (with hand-held weights or bands) for one to two minutes before getting back on the bike. Also new are lunch-hour spin/abs classes targeting your core.
All you need: A stationary bike and one- to two-kilogram dumbbells. Or try a 45- to 60-minute class at a gym, or a DVD such as Robert Sherman’s Cycle Challenge or Mindy Mylrea’s Super Cycle.
Try this move: Cycle sculpt: Ride the bike at a steady pace for five to 10 minutes, then get off and pick up your weights. Do a squat and press your weights up over your head. Do 10 to 12 squats with overhead presses, then get back on the bike for five to 10 minutes.
You’ll get: Stronger all over
Why it works: This portable, one-kilogram nylon webbing rope can be hung anywhere’a door jamb or tree’to give you an all-body workout in under 30 minutes. It lets you work every muscle using your own body weight. ‘Because they work the deep stabilizing muscles, body weight-only workouts are demanding; it’s best to get a trainer to check your form,’ suggests Gloria Atkinson, group fitness director at the Ontario Racquet Club in Mississauga, Ont.
All you need: TRX Home Training Bundle includes webbing rope, door anchor, instructional guides and DVDs.
Try this move: Push-up: Once you master the easier push-ups from knees, add to the challenge by doing one or two with legs extended. You’ll then be ready to add the TRX rope to your push-ups’increasing muscle tension, calorie burn and fat loss. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
You’ll get: Cardio exercise and confidence
Why it works: High-energy Latin music and dance moves make for a great aerobic work-out. ‘You get lost in both the music and the movement’the added benefit is that you are getting a great caloric burn,’ says Krista Popowych, a Vancouver-based fitness professional.
All you need: Comfy clothes, running shoes and a class. At-home DVD: Zumba Fitness.
Try this move: Warm-up squat: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides. Bend your knees into a squat and bring your arms up into an arch (only your arms should move). Repeat several times to raise your body temperature and get your muscles and heart pumping.