#MumbaiList: Five Fitness Trends So Fun, They’re Worth Trying Out

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In our increasingly complex and time-tabled lives, fitness is now taking up a fixed slot – whether its strapping on your FitBit before an evening jog at Carter Road or a personal training session with Yasmin Karachiwalla. Our collective consciousness is leaning towards a fitter lifestyle. This phenomenon, in my opinion, can be quite perfectly summed up in a quote by stand-up comedian George Carlin – and while he was specifically referring to USA, I believe it can be generalized - “Regarding the fitness craze: we have lost our souls, now we’re trying to save our bodies.” Presenting, the top five fitness mantras trending these days. Aerial Yoga Sure you’ve heard of Yoga. Around the late 19th century we introduced to the Western world our most ancient and spiritual form of physical exercise; and somewhere in the past decade, New York came back to us with this.

Aditi Deshpande

What is it? Anti-gravity yoga, more commonly known as aerial yoga combines traditional yoga poses, Pilates and even some dance – all performed on a hammock of sorts. Imagine yourself suspended off a rig consisting of support chains, a webbing strap, a silk hammock connected with carabiners. (If you’re lucky, you may just find yourself a lavender silk one). How it works? Like a graceful trapeze artist*, you will find yourself stretching parts of your body you never knew could bend is such ways. Aerial silk helps you be fit by enhancing your mind and body coordination, improves neuromuscular skills, strength, endurance and flexibility. It not only guarantees greater flexibility – given that you have increased freedom of movement, but also contributes to strengthening your muscles and garnering more focus. Expert Speak: “Aerial Yoga is a major stress-buster due to its high fun quotient and superb blood rush. It teaches you how to handle your body against the gravity and improves your aerial sense” says Aditi Deshpande, founder of Fly High. Our Verdict: This could be your swan song. May take a few classes to get the drift, depending upon your flexibility. Crossfit What is it? Technically a fitness company, CrossFit Inc. is ragingly known worldwide as the new way to gym. It incorporates HIIT (high intensity interval training), powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, Tabata, and other exercises. Fitness based on discipline, form and endurance, CrossFit is one of those rare fads that has an equal appeal amongst women and men. How it works? You know CrossFit is your thing if you have dreamed about saying the words ‘0% body fat’ or follow a belief that resembles the ‘NO PAIN NO GAIN’ formula. Trainers focus on core strength and conditioning bodies to be fitter, leaner and more capable with every class. This is a class where it stops mattering whether you are a housewife, cross-country biker or middle-aged workaholic.

CrossFit

Expert Speak: CrossFit L1 trainer Ashish Shah, founder of Rudebox Fitness says, “CrossFit is for overall full body fitness - it not only develops mental toughness and keeps your motivated, but also helps advance overall physical fitness skills such as: Cardio endurance, strength, speed, flexibility, stamina, power, agility, body balance and coordination. It’s about working on various physical tasks within a pre-defined time frame and together as a group which only adds to the overall competitiveness of an athlete.” Our Verdict: An addiction we’d highly recommend. And as someone who has subscribed to this school of training I can say that it is addictive, fulfilling, never monotonous and has definite, tangible results. *CrossFitters daily schedule is called the Workout of the Day Aqua Zumba What is it? Zumba the international dance fitness sensation originating in Colombia took India by storm early last year. Part hip-hop, part salsa, part aerobics, part mambo, part Bollywood and part-ten other dance forms come together to create this workout regime. Throw in some squats, lunges and stretching and you’ve got a perfect hour’s worth of exercise. How it works? However, fads are about taking it up a notch. Aqua Zumba is the very same but, you guessed it – immersed in water. Swimming pools and gear being a must, the rest is pretty easy. Aqua Zumba focuses on cardio, and has proved to be much more efficient. This high-energy, low-impact aquatic exercise places much less stress on your joints. Water offers a natural resistance, which makes every step more challenging, toning your muscles in a safer way. The regular Zumba dance moves have been specially adapted to suit this environment. An invigorating workout, Aqua Zumba is fun and lively, while allowing you to burn calories without even realizing so!

Aqua Zumba

Expert Speak: Licensed Zumba instructor Rachna Raichandani has this to add: “Aqua Zumba is loads of fun and doubly effective as you work against gravity as well as the buoyancy of water without even realising it! You don't have to know how to swim and being in the water is very refreshing.” Our Verdict: Perfect workout for Mumbai weather. This is definitely the pool party of a lifetime – or if you choose so, the pool party you attend twice a week. Hoolahooping Yes, I'm talking about the toy you had when you were 9 and your idea of a good time was colouring within the lines. Hula-hoops are all the rage right now, be it a fitness class, an Instagram post or a music festival. What is it? Most commonly hula-hoops are made of plastic, but they’re not really the most effective ones. When it’s about the waist, wooden and weighted are the way to go. How it works? Hooping is low on impact, high on cardio and excellent in results. It helps tone ab muscles, improves body posture and is an excellent form of mediation. A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin found that hooping burns seven calories a minute, and a total of 420 calories in an hour.

Hula-hooping

Expert Speak: “Hooping is new, exciting and fun. It is so enjoyable that it makes you forget you’re working out. A great form of cardio, it doesn’t take one more than one session to pick up.” says Swati Shah, founder of Hoopnotism. Our Verdict: We dare you not to enjoy this. Kalaripayattu The martial art originating in Kerala, Kalaripayattu was the combat code of ancient warriors in India. Known as the ‘mother of all martial arts’, this 3000-year-old art form is a source of self-expression in dance form. What is it? Kalarippayattu is a rare combination of martial training, physical culture, self-defence practice and physiotherapic treatment. It has a high reputation as an art with highly developed body language and expression. It is a certifiable balance between health, fitness and strength training.

Kalaripayattu

How it works? The main elements of Kalaripayattu include training in physical culture, armed and unarmed combat, breath control, higher forms of meditation and specific classes of treatments. All the limbs, faculties and systems in one’s body from head to toe are brought into play in the practice of Kalaripayattu which endows it with a unique power to diagnose and heal many of the physical ailments of non-congenital nature. Breath control is an integral part of the practice and due to which lung related problems wanes away in short time. Expert Speak: Professional coach with over 30 years of experience to back him, Belraj Soni says, "While other forms of martial arts, gym, and aerobics concentrate on the improvement and strengthening of physique and to a lesser extent the mental capabilities, Kalari aims at balanced growth of both." Our Verdict: Known to help mitigate obesity and other physical ailments, Kalari definitely has our vote. Know of other interesting fitness regimens we should know of too? Tell us in comments below or email your ideas to us at [email protected]  

Richa Rungta

Richa Rungta
Born when Mumbai was still Bombay, Richa isn't as old as she may sound. She is a freelance writer, professional matchmaker and an accomplished Cards Against Humanity player. She considers herself an environmentalist and accepts compliments when they come written on cake.