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There are a variety of workout classes to choose from when trying to improve fitness. Aerobics and dance classes keep students moving to choreographed beats while combining aerobic activity and strength training. Boot camp fitness classes that take their cue from the military enhance endurance and muscle strength. High-intensity kickboxing classes work the overall body. Yoga and Pilates classes bring the intensity down but keep the fitness high through stretching and strengthening exercises.
An aerobics class combines stretching, strength training and aerobics into different routines for total body fitness. There are different levels of classes for different fitness levels. Aerobics classes normally are set to music, and students follow the step routines of an instructor in the front of the room. A variation on the traditional aerobics class is freestyle aerobics, where the instructor basically creates his or her own moves to meet the needs of the specific class. Other variations are water aerobics, which is performed in a pool for low-impact resistance, and step aerobics, which uses an elevated riser, or step, in the workout.
Dance workout classes combine the movements of a variety of dance styles, such as cha cha, swing and disco. Other dance workout classes use the latest dance moves to burn calories and teach students contemporary dances such as hip-hop and funk. Zumba classes are designed to get students moving in a fun, party-like atmosphere that incorporates Latin dance and a Latin beat. Workout classes in the ancient art of belly dancing enhance the body's core and can be found at many fitness studios.
Using tough military training as a model, boot camp workout classes enhance endurance and muscle strength while burning calories. They also provide a less-complicated, easier-to-follow workout then some aerobics and dance workout classes. Boot camp classes incorporate many of the no-frills exercises that actually are used in real boot camps, such as jumping jacks, squats and sit-ups. Simple aerobic steps, rope jumping and sprints might be used to get hearts pumping. Some boot camp classes also include agility drills such as ladder training and hurdle jumping.
Kick boxing classes use punches such as jabs and uppercuts as well as kicks in order to build strength, balance and coordination and to improve aerobic conditioning. These classes can be very high intensity, so they sometimes are more suitable for people who already have a high fitness level. Some gyms and fitness centers might offer beginner classes.
Yoga helps improve balance and flexibility through postures that strengthen weak areas of the body and relax tense ones. Pilates classes build lean muscle, core strength and more by teaching exercises intended to support the spine's natural curvature. Both yoga and Pilates also are concerned with increasing mind-to-body awareness.