Fun and effective group fitness classes to improve heart health

PHOTO: iStock

You know that heart health is essential, which means you need to find effective ways to challenge your heart and have fun at the same time. Here are a few group fitness classes (or types of workouts) to get or keep you moving. Boxing/kickboxing much like rebounding, this 90’s fitness favourite is back.

Concepts like Rumble and 9 Round are reinventing the cardio kickboxing class that was so popular before the turn of the century. New and improved heavy bags, technology (for monitoring intensity and keeping track of the workout), high-energy music and unique programming concepts are just a few of the reasons a new generation is falling in love with this workout. These classes typically combine short bursts of traditional boxing with simple, straightforward conditioning.

Picture: iStock

Other popular exercise options to consider
Not only does this format test your heart in a new way, it also improves your coordination and strength simultaneously.

Dance It’s hard to provide a complete list of all the dance options that exist, as so many variations have popped up over the past 20 years since Zumba got us back in the groove.

Regardless of the genre, dance is still popular with exercisers of all ages because it’s both fun and effective.

Dancing can be low impact, tests your cognitive abilities and makes you smile all at the same time. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) HIIT is still hot, but now you can find even more variety to suit your needs.

Traditional 60-minute classes and express classes (with or without equipment) are just about everywhere. Many gyms are offering their own branded versions of HIIT workouts in the main studio, as well as utilising the pro-tocol in the indoor cycling studios.

HIIT is fast-paced and challenges your heart differently than a steady-state dance class or long jog. But, as with any form of exercise, too much of a good thing could backfire.

Picture: iStock

Exploring fitness through community meet-ups

Be sure to limit your HIIT workouts to two to three days a week and keep other types of cardio in your rotation. Indoor cycling/spinning Indoor cycling is another excellent cardio option, with countless variations to attract every type of fitness enthusiast.

Much like rowing and rebounding, indoor cycling’s impact on the body is minimal, making it easy on the joints. If taught properly, you control the resistance, which means you can make the workout easier or harder as needed, and the Letshego Zulu Fitness @ LARGE workout can focus on endurance or use intervals to challenge your anaerobic fitness.

Technology plays a significant role in some variations, which might include power meters to measure effort, digital “leader boards” to gamify the experience, performance data delivered post-workout via email, and immersion experiences with incredible displays to help keep your mind off the work.

Combination classes/body conditioning classes are ideal because they mix up the type of work, which can help keep injuries caused by repetitive motion at bay.

Plus, time flies when you’re bouncing back and forth between activities. Combo classes are a great way to check out new workouts in smaller doses.

Community meet-ups instead of being bound by studio walls, some break out of the club and venture into the great outdoors.

Letshego Zulu/The Citizen