It is that time when the year is beginning and everyone’s desire to put one’s best foot forward is swelling. The realisation is now universal that to face the world with confidence, you need a sound body that can house an alert mind.
Hitting the next-door gym and enrolling in a yoga class are still popular options but these days, there is also a plethora of exercise routines available that try to nullify the pain and boredom of workouts with novel methods and exhilarating music.
Dance trainer Rajesh Raj of Kochi, for instance, says that he has incorporated kickboxing moves into his training routine and blends them with music and dance, with enthusiastic response from his students who come to him to learn dance and lose body weight in a fun way. “When I make my students do stretching, I often use contemporary music with no particular rhythm to it, but has saxophone, flute and the like being played in the background. Such music calls for sustained movements from the dancer. Ball room dance is also done using the same formula. One needs to be more attentive, as the movements will be a bit fast.”
He adds: “Afrobeats are very effective for weight loss, as the steps may seem simple enough at first glance but require a lot of energy and exertion with its bouts of bouncing. Since the entire body is being used, it enhances flexibility as well.” Rajesh plays around a lot with music and uses not just Latin songs for the salsa routine but also Punjabi songs which require Punjabi dance style too.
Yoga expert Nuthan Manohar talks about how Vinyasa Yoga benefited her a lot during her recent Himalayas trek and is planning to conduct a workshop on it in Kochi. “Vinyasa involves moving with your breath. Then, you hold yourself longer in certain postures. One uses muscles, which normally he or she would not. It sees a rhythmic transition across various yoga postures, especially standing and balancing postures set to the pace of your breath.”
According to Nuthan, chair postures, standing twists, balancing and back bends that fall under this yoga method are very effective in helping people lose weight and enhance flexibility.
Dance trainer Jason Mathew and his brother Bob Selix, a fitness expert, have been teaching Aqua Zumba and Insanity workouts at their Kottayam centre which is more of a ground workout, and doesn’t require any equipment. “We do this ground workout in water and is coupled with thumping music. It is completely cardio-based, and when compared to doing workouts on ground, it is easier to do in water. Given that people of all age groups like to play in water, we get them to do stretching and boxing steps, etc, in water. I have had people saying that they have got relief from their joint pains after practising this,” says Jason.
Fitness trainer Alister D’Silva from Kochi says Bollyfit, Crossfit and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) are some of the relatively new techniques at his centre. “Bollyfit is a dance fitness programme, which uses Bollywood steps and songs. Crossfit is more of a functional workout, which involves doing exercises using tyres, rope and other everyday resources. Workouts like these will help build core strength and provide more endurance.”
Mixed Martial Arts, a mix of Krav Maga, kickboxing and wrestling, has been a hit with not only martial arts enthusiasts but also those wanting to shed those extra kilos. “It involves a lot of intensive exercise and helps burn calories. It works faster than the normal workouts,” he says.