BY CHRISTIE DEL AMO JOHNSON
There are hundreds of ways to rejuvenate yourself ranging from taking a deep breath to taking a vacation. Rejuvenating yourself is necessary for the well-being of our minds and bodies. You can take a break from food or talking for a single day. You can dream a perfect vacation when you can’t actually get away. You can super clean your house. Or, as Caitlin Thomas advises, you can ‘work out’! Thomas says that she needs to blow off steam after working all day and chasing her 18-month-old around at night.
According to the American Heart Association, at least 30-minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity aerobic activity most days of the week have major benefits for your heart, lungs, and circulation. Besides helping with weight loss, regular physical activity can also help lower cholesterol, reduce your risk of diabetes, and lower blood pressure, among other things. But Thomas says that for her, walking on the treadmill or hitting the stairmaster is boring. She needs a workout that’s fun. “A person needs something that makes them want to come back the next week,” says the Macon mom.
By rotating the ways you work out, your body will be challenged to adapt to new movements and new intensity requirements while being more fun. Here are some fresh ways to mix-up your fitness routine:
This Middle Eastern art of dancing isn’t just exotic; it’s a great way to gain energy and strength, increase your overall range of motion, balance, and flexibility. Belly dancing can reduce tension headaches and stress as well as gaining good posture, muscle tone, and weight loss. Melek teaches the class at the Eagle Springs Community Center in Centerville. She says “Belly dancing is good for all age groups, children through seniors, and is an excellent workout for both mind and body. It’s not only fun, it keeps you on your toes and not on the sofa!”
In this class you burn a minimum of 500 calories and learn some sultry Latin dances. The routines use interval training where fast and slow rhythms and resistance training are combined to tone and sculpt your body while burning fat. “So many people don’t like to workout already,” says Heather Higgens, who teaches the class at Macon Health Club and The Wellness Center. “The fun factor is what brings people to the class because this is more of a party atmosphere than it is a workout atmosphere.”
In this high-intensity, circuit-training class (cardio and strength) you can expect to run, jump, lift, and stretch your way to weight loss. The 5-week session includes a physical assessment before and after the camp and is done in a group fitness environment. Certified Personal Trainer, Lisa Goss Stinson, with Boot Camp Challenge Middle Georgia says the phrase “boot camp” intimidates a lot of people. “Some people, before the classes, are like I can’t do it because you’ll yell,” says Goss Stinson. “I don’t yell. I try to get people to work to their potential by motivating them.”
Mommy & Me
Don’t want to leave your child behind during your workout. This is the class for you. It incorporates both mommy and baby. Natalie Preston teaches the class at Kinetix Health Club in Macon. She says parents hold their children during the exercises which adds weight, helping to build muscle, and creates a harder workout. “Being a mom takes such a toll—physically, emotionally, and mentally,” says Preston. “If you get in the gym and workout that makes you a better mom.”
Break out your dancing shoes. At North Macon Park, Dianne Kent has been teaching Line dancing, the Waltz, and other classic forms—FREE of charge—for 13-years. She says this type of dancing really targets the hips and thighs. She says for those who question the workout, “It is a proven fact that if you are wearing a pedometer and dance Waltz, you gain more steps than if dancing Cha Cha or Swing.”
If you’re looking for something more relaxing, but still great for toning and stretching, try yoga. Dannette Kallay opened YogaMoga in downtown Macon because of the physical and spiritual benefits it offers. She offers classes for beginners to advanced students, prenatal yoga, and yoga for kids as young as three. On Saturdays, the studio has a family class for all ages. “I want yoga to be for them a good exercise, but also lots of fun; and then I think they’ll incorporate it into their lives forever.”