Dance, bend and salsa, baby: New workouts to try

In Piloxing Barre, participants engage more of their muscles by using the barre to bend lower or raise their legs higher.
In Piloxing Barre, participants engage more of their muscles by using the barre to bend lower or raise their legs higher.PHOTO: SPORT SINGAPORE

Exercise routines are no more boring with these new workouts

While a few gyms here have closed down in the past year or so, the latest being the California Fitness chain, there are actually more choices for people looking for fresh and new ways to exercise.

These workouts are being introduced by private fitness studios or gyms, as well as the national movement - called ActiveSg - to get people in Singapore to be active.

 "People tend to get bored with workout routines. New workouts are great in getting some excitement and fun into physical exercise," said sports psychologist Edgar Tham of SportPsych Consulting.

Variety is especially helpful to those who find it hard to maintain a regular exercise routine.

They can participate in workouts that they enjoy and not those that they do not like, he added.

HAPPY WORKOUT

I may not understand the music or the language, but the moves and the choreography are very cheerful.

MS IRIS NG, a human resource professional, on the Kukuwa Fitness workout.

Social support also helps. "This means getting some exercise kakis or getting support and encouragement from friends and family members," he said.

For those who are already exercising and keen on staving off exercise boredom, he gives these tips:

•Vary your workouts

•Find something novel to do

•Increase the difficulty level of your workouts to make it slightly more challenging, but not to a level that is very difficult to reach

•Since ActiveSg was launched in 2014, it has been on the lookout for "new, fun and trendy programmes" to bring to Singapore, said its deputy director of programming, Mr Simon Tan.

It looks out for programmes that have gained strong interest around the world. Then it will work with the brand owners and licence distributor to find out the benefits of the programmes, he said.

These new programmes are held at the various sports centres around Singapore. They are often more affordably priced than those at private fitness studios or gyms.

ActiveSg started Jumping Fitness classes, where participants do jumps and other moves on small trampolines, in August last year.

The workout is also available at places such as New Hope BounceFit in Yishun, a social enterprise that offers Jumping Fitness classes six days a week.

Newer workouts here include Bolly Dazz fitness and Bokwa H20.

The former combines Bollywood dance moves with cardio and weight training.

The latter is a variation of Bokwa that is done in the water. Bokwa is a dance fitness workout in which participants draw numbers and letters with their feet.

Apart from new workouts, fitness studios and gyms may also offer new classes from time to time. For instance, the Virgin Active gym in Raffles Place started a Stretch And Roll class in June that is suitable for those who frequently have stiff or sore muscles. It focuses on the use of foam rollers to improve mobility, flexibility and performance.

Here are three new workouts available:

KUKUWA FITNESS


A Kukuwa fitness class in progress at Bedok Reservoir Park, lead by instructor (red top) Lucretia Cheng. She says participants can burn up to 1,000 calories in a 60-minute class. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

This is a new dance fitness workout that originated from Africa and is also known as the Kukuwa African Dance Workout.

Expect to move your arms, waist, legs and hips to a blend of African rhythms.

Fitness instructor Lucretia Cheng, who teaches this at the ActiveSg dance studios in Bedok and Pasir Ris, says you can burn up to 1,000 calories in a 60-minute class, working on muscles that you never knew you have.

She was certified as an instructor last October when founder Kukuwa Nuamah, a dance choreographer and fitness professional, and her daughter, Cassandra, came here to teach it for the first time.

"I was intrigued by Kukuwa and what she had to offer," said Ms Cheng. "The workout is not only new, but it is also a culturally rich experience and offers something beyond a regular workout that connects people."

You are exposed to African rhythms and cultural dance movements in the workout, she said.

"People have so much fun doing it. You can hear laughter throughout the session. It is truly a happy dance workout."

ActiveSg started offering Kukuwa classes this month at the dance studios in Bedok, Bukit Gombak and Pasir Ris.

Before this, numerous one-off sessions were held, including one on Car Free Day in April and four Sunday sessions in June at Bedok Reservoir Park.

Human resource professional Iris Ng, 40, who attended one of them, would like to go for more classes.

"I may not understand the music or the language, but the moves and the choreography are very cheerful," she said.

"I can imagine myself sharing their joy and happiness while they celebrate the harvest with this happy dance."

PILOXING BARRE

This is piloxing with the use of a barre. It is a variation of piloxing, an interval workout that combines pilates, boxing and dance.

Since Swedish dancer and trainer Viveca Jensen created piloxing in the United States several years ago, interest in the workout has grown.

"In Piloxing Barre, it's just pilates and boxing," said Ms Rasidah Caudal, 39, a freelance fitness instructor and piloxing master trainer.

"The original piloxing is like interval training. Boxing is high intensity, pilates is core exercises and dance adds the fun element. I like all three," she said.

"With Piloxing Barre, I can push myself more. I can engage more of my muscles with the help of the barre, like bending lower and raising my legs higher."

Piloxing Barre classes started this month at the dance studio in Jurong East Sports Centre.

SALSATION


Salsation class at Rasa Fitness, a dance and fitness studio at Peninsula Shopping Centre. PHOTO: LOW TING TING

This dance workout, which takes its name from a combination of Salsa and Sensation, incorporates functional body movements and innovative dance moves.

Participants move their bodies to mostly Latin or popular music. It was created by dancer and choreographer Alejandro Angulo, who is from Venezuela.

Ms Angela Aiken, a part-time fitness instructor, first tried it a few years ago when she was in the United States. She liked the workout as it combines dance and fitness moves, and started teaching it in April this year.

Systems analyst Low Ting Ting, who has been going to the Salsation class at Rasa Fitness, a dance and fitness studio at Peninsula Shopping Centre, thoroughly enjoys it as she loves Latin music.

"The moves are challenging but Angela manages to get us to do them well," she said. "She's very passionate about it and that makes me love the workout even more."

Salsation classes will also be available at Tampines Sports Centre from Friday and Clementi Sports Centre from Aug 14.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2016, with the headline 'Dance, bend and salsa, baby'. Print Edition | Subscribe