Monday Musings: My Top 4 Favourite Workouts

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So you’ve set out to try something new this year. Why not make that new thing a healthy hobby? Taking up a new hobby can be nerve-wrecking but it can very well be fulfilling and exhilarating, even more so if it’s good for your health. From fitness buffs to newbie novices, this list covers 4 extremely different types of workouts that you can pick from and I’m pretty sure you’ve never had your hand in at least 1 of them. Open your mind and don’t fear of the unknown! You never know what you are capable of until you try!

High Intensity Interval Training
This may be a stretch for newbies, but it definitely has been one of the most popular form of exercise for fitness buffs. And for certain one of my favorites to get an intense fat burning sweat out of it. It varies from purely cardiovascular and anaerobic exercise depending on the type of interval training you prefer, but your metabolism meter will go through the roof! Okay, maybe not like The Flash (pardon my nerdy affiliation). One way is to change up your running tactics with interval training by incorporating sprinting and resting every 30 seconds to a minute depending on your fitness level. For example, 30 seconds of sprints and alternate with 15 seconds of rest before you start again with the sprint. Another way is to use weights or body weights for some strength and cardio work instead of simply running.

Believe me when I say this short, intense workouts are NOT easy peasy. It’s so intense that most of these workouts last for a good 20-30 minutes but they do improve your athletic condition and metabolism. Know your body, your health and your fitness level before committing to a workout that’s too intense. On the other hand, you never know what you can accomplish if you don’t challenge yourself right? The most important thing is to push yourself, but don’t overdo it. Just have fun with it!

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Reformer Pilates
We’ve all heard about Pilates haven’t we? The traditional Pilates is usually done on the mat using none other than our own body weights plus a few other small equipments like bands or rings. But the one that I’ve started to really be obsessed with, is the Pilates on the reformer. It might look a little intimidating at first sight, what with the narrow sliding platform of a bed attached to springs. It’s not a torture device. I repeat, it is NOT a torture device! It is a surprisingly flexible equipments as it not only strengthens your core, but others parts of your muscles too! With selected resistance, you can do various poses and stretches from the very basic to the highly advanced. The benefits may be similar but there are definitely some you poses and muscle benefits you may not be able to duplicate on the mat.

Not only is the reformer great for strength training, there are also classes for easing aches and body pains as well my personal favorite the Cardio Jumpboard. Using a board attached to the end of the reformer, the various moves you can do is similar to jumping making it a cardiovascular and anaerobic exercise as well. Trust me when I say that your legs will feel like jelly by the end of it, but so much fun!

Gymnastics
You don’t have to be pulling out the splits nor do you have to start from young to do gymnastics. There are so many adult gymnastics class for beginners and if you’re looking for a challenge, this is definitely it. People tend to misinterpret gymnastics as a flexibility game. Sure, it doesn’t hurt to be, but the most important thing is actually to be physically strong. Your upper body and your core are the most worked parts during these gymnastics sessions and I’ve seen even the strongest people to have difficulties doing the moves.

I wouldn’t call myself great at it, I’m still having a difficult time getting some moves right. But each class has always been enjoyable and a challenge. Not only are you testing your physical strength but it is also a test of mental focus. It tests my concentration by demanding me to be aware of how strong I should jump, how far I should jump, which direction I should be in, what hand shouldn’t be where, and what muscles to use. Sometimes the challenge is over thinking it too and thus the strike of balance is stressed greatly. Don’t let the intimidation stop you because it does get easier as your muscles get used to what feels right. I seriously recommend it!

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Aerial Arts
Now this may be a workout that could be very helpful if you’re flexible but strength is still the number one factor. Although there are classes where the aerial silks are not adjusted too high but if you’re afraid of heights, you might as well stop reading right about now. Take some foundation classes for silks, Lyra hoops and the trapeze to get a sense of what you prefer, but I personally love the silks and the hoop. If you’re choosing aerial, it also means you are choosing fitness over vanity as callouses will start to appear on your palms.

A total newbie, this exciting new hobby requires much core and upper body work as well! Didn’t see THAT coming did you? But yes, your hands will get callouses, your core and upper body will die of pain and maybe some bruises here and there if you’re prone to them. Not to forget, I may not have acrophobia, but I do get scared I might fall so there’s the challenge of hearing my heart thumping loudly every so often. But the adrenaline of getting poses right and doing them gracefully will only make you physically stronger and with time, flexible as well.

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