Paula from Sharjah is a stay-at-home mom who has been advised to lose 10 kilos for good health. She currently does not exercise and says she just doesn’t like the idea of switching on the computer and exercising at home. She explains, “I don’t like walking alone; I find it boring. I also get bored really easily from doing exercise routines off of the computer. Yet I really need to shed this weight and need motivation also. Is there any routine that I can do that’s both fun and really works up a sweat?” The answer is a group fitness glass which according to Nganga, have become popular because of the additional element of entertainment thatthey bring to fitness. “They are not only invigorating and healthy but also fun,” he says.
Zumba is basically a dance fitness program created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez during the 1990’s. It combines the elements of both aerobics and dance alongside lunges and squats.Its choreography incorporates salsa, hip-hop, samba, mambo, merengue, and martial arts. Sessions are typically about an hour long and are taught by licensed instructors. Exercises are practiced to the beat of fast and slow rhythms and include resistance training. “Zumba is popular because it has the ‘Latino’ spice and ‘salsa’ elements to it and these have been carefully blended to provide fitness while having fun,” Nganga explains.
Developed by Joseph Pilates, Pilates emphasizes the body’s balanced development through awareness, flexibility, and core strength which eventually enables support of efficient movement. One of the best aspects of Pilates is that it can be applied to several age groups at varied fitness levels; therefore senior citizens, women who have delivered, and even dancers, can all enjoy the exercise.
Pilates, points out Nganga, has always been popular with its popularity only increasing as more and more people take to this type of exercise.“Pilates targets the core strength and conditioning which has quick results in the overall health and wellbeing of the individual practicing it,” he says. “It is amazing how a little help with the posture and strength in the core muscles of the body can do to the individuals overall health and fitness.” He adds that group classes sessions last 45 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the level of fitness level and the type of class. “In order to see visible results, group classes should be done two to four times a week combined with a good diet and resistance training,” he explains.
More intense than a stationary bike, in this kind of class, expect to cycle for approximately 30 to 75 minute sessions, which can burn up to around 900 calories. The intensity varies throughout the class, due to changing
of body position, pedal speed, and resistance. During the class, the instructor will yell out instructions to
imitate a real ride of climbs, sprints, and coasts. And one of the great aspects is that most bikes can track
mileage, pulse, and calories burned to record progress throughout the class. And all that pedalling will tone
up muscles, too, working the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core.
Other Kinds of Classes
Other classes include Zumba, yoga, Tae-bo, TRX, Aero-Dance, Dumbbell Blast, Bokwa, Circuit training, Core Plus, Bollywood Dance, Tabata training, Cardio Kickboxing, Aqua gym and Hard core Aerobics. All of the group
exercise/fitness classes, tells Nganga, work on the whole body, mainly focusing on the legs since they are the largest muscles and they require adequate time for recovery.“Hence they stimulate an increase in calories burnt during the class and at least eight hours after the class,” he says. “Classes entail choreographed moves with music set to fit the rhythm and flow of each individual class.”
Levels of Intensity
Group classes are designed to be safe and effective, points out Nganga.“Some classes like aqua gym would be recommended for someone with joint problems as opposed to Tae-bo since it is high impact,” he says while classes
are designed in terms of beginners, intermediate and advance. “The intensity varies from easy, intermediate and intense,” he explains. Adding, he says that anyone can attend these group classes from age 10 to age 90.“It is even better for those who are not able to motivate themselves or stick to their fitness routine as being part of a group activity has that extra element of motivation from fellow members in the class and the instructor,” he explains and in fact, the best candidate for a group fitness class is one who is looking to have a great time while keeping fit. Nganga explains that the number of sessions required vary due to personal preference and fitness lever.“Basically two to four classes per week one hour per session is recommended,” he states.
Some results from partaking in a group fitness class, says Nganga, include the following: weight loss, decrease in
fat percentile, decrease in cholesterol levels, decrease in blood pressure, and a decrease in resting heart rates. “Also included are increased stamina, an increase in endurance, an increase inresting metabolic rate, correct posture,
as well as an enhanced state of calm and relief,” he explains. “Prices range from Dhs 200 to Dhs 250 with some additional complementary classes.”