Ditch the Workout...Join the Party!

What is a Zumba fitness class like? It's a very exciting dance party atmosphere full of Latin and international music. You'll forget you're working out with the sexy but simple moves to dance music like Cha Cha, Salsa, reggaeton, rumba and more. Best of all, you don't need any previous dance experience!

It's fun and effective, using interval training combining fast and slow rhythms for an effective aerobic workout while at the same time targetting your legs, abs, glutes and arms.

The workout is basically watch and follow. The moves are repeated often enough for you to catch on and they're not complicated. The routines are repeated week after week with additions every now and then to spice things up even more!

According to the Zumba website, "Zumba combines high energy and motivating music with unique moves and combinations that allow the Zumba participants to dance away their worries. It is based on the principle that a workout should be 'FUN AND EASY TO DO' in order for Zumba participants to stick to the Zumba fitness program to achieve long-term health benefits. Zumba is not only great for the body, but it is also great for the mind. It is a 'feel happy' workout."

Zumba is very infectious and is definitely the latest, most exciting fitness sensation! What a fun way to workout to lose weight or just become a healthier new you - you'll love the results. Be sure to bring your family and friends to be a part of the Zumba Fitness party! Check out the Zumba website here for more info: http://www.zumba.com/. Happy Zumba-ing :-)

Zumba with Heather: http://www.energiezumba.com

Workouts should leave you smiling

Workouts should leave you smiling
And other new rules to help you stick to the gym

Jill Barker
Canwest News Service

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

No pain, no gain? It's not a great strategy if it leads to dreading the gym, says Jill Barker.

There are rules to live by and rules to exercise by. And like the rules of life, the rules of exercise have changed over the years. Some are outdated, some are more relaxed and some are as true today as they were decades ago.

To make sure you're following the latest set of exercise guidelines, here are some old rules, followed by ones that have taken their place. With the new year so fresh, now is the perfect time to discard your old way of thinking and get on board with a whole new way of doing things.

Old rule: No pain, no gain. New rule: Make exercise fun.

For years, exercise wasn't considered exercise unless it hurt. Thank goodness that has changed.

Unless you're training for competition, you don't need to work out anywhere near your pain threshold to get fit. In fact, waking up sore and achy after a tough workout is now considered a sign that you pushed yourself too hard.

A good exercise program is gradual, varied and forgiving. And while it's OK to work hard in the gym, health and fitness benefits can be accrued without punishing yourself. Consistency, not intensity, is the secret to reaping the rewards of exercise, so lighten up, have some fun and learn to look forward to and not dread your next workout.

Old rule: Work out for a minimum of 20 minutes at a moderately hard intensity three times a week.

New rule: Accumulate 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most, if not all, days of the week.

It used to be that exercise was an all-or-nothing proposition. If you didn't commit to at least three moderately hard workouts a week, you could forget about getting in shape. But that's no longer the recommendation. Researchers have discovered that being active every day is the key to staying fit and healthy.

That doesn't mean you have to hit the gym or work up a major-league sweat every day of the week. Nor does it mean you have to do those 30 minutes all at once. Three 10-minute bouts of physical activity a day are what you need to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle. Of course, more exercise results in more benefits, but for those who struggle to meet the minimum requirements or on those days when a gym workout is impossible, remember some exercise is better than none. Even short workouts burn unwanted calories and reduce stress, so learn to make exercise a part of your daily routine.

Old rule: Drink before you are thirsty. New rule: Drink when thirsty.

Trying to stay ahead of thirst used to be an ongoing concern for any exerciser who cared about performing to their max. Turns out that pumping the body full of fluids at every available opportunity can actually result in overhydration which, though rare, can cause death.

Today's recommendations suggest that exercisers wait until thirst sets in before replenishing lost fluids. They also suggest gauging fluid intake based on personal sweat rates, environmental conditions and exercise intensity, not on a one-size-fits-all set of guidelines that don't take into consideration all the variables necessary to accurately determine hydration status.

Drink more often on hot days or when you are working out at an intensity that increases sweat loss and less often on cooler days when you sweat less, or during less intense workouts when you don't lose a lot of fluids through sweat.

Old rule: Don't eat before exercising.

New rule: Don't exercise on an empty stomach.

Snacking before a workout used to be a no-no that was reputed to cause cramping and sluggishness during activity. Now we know differently. Food actually supplies the energy exercisers need to per-form at their best.

However, in order to be effective, eating and exercise have to be perfectly timed. Too much food too soon before your workout can make you feel bloated and may indeed hamper performance. For best results, consume a 300-calorie snack (a single serving of nonfat yogourt and a low fat granola bar) 90 minutes before you hit the gym. That little bit of extra fuel tops up your energy reserves, allowing you to exercise longer than you would on an empty stomach.

Old rule: Stretch before you exercise.

New rule: Stretch after you exercise.

Back in the day, exercisers were told to perform at least 10 minutes of static stretching during their warm-up routine if they wanted to reduce the risk of getting injured. Trouble is, there was no science backing up those claims.

Researchers have since determined that pre-exercise stretching doesn't reduce the risk of injury. In fact, studies now suggest that stretching before exercise might actually have a negative effect on performance. The new rule recommends waiting until after your workout to stretch. Not only will your muscles be warm and more conducive to stretching, the body welcomes a nice relaxing stretch after a tough workout.

As for what to do before your workout, perform a series of dynamic range-of-motion movements that mimic the activity to come. Not only will you better prepare your body for the work ahead, the rehearsal effect helps warm up the mind as well, helping you to fire on all cylinders as soon as you step on the court, field or ice.

Ed.note: and do Zumba for a workout that will REALLY leave you smiling ;-)

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