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5 Workout Classes for Guys

Focused on Health - September 2010

by Laura Nathan-Garner

Exercise classes aren’t just for women anymore. These days, more and more men are trying group classes at their gym orman boxing specialized fitness studios.

Many keep returning — and for good reason. Group fitness classes can improve your strength conditioning, get your heart pumping, help cut belly fat that can up your cancer risks and teach you new exercises, with instructors suggesting adjustments for your fitness and skill level. Plus, working out in a group may give you the motivation to keep exercising so your body can fight off diseases like cancer.

New to group fitness, or just want to mix things up? Take one — or several — of these classes for a test drive:

1. Kickboxing

What it is: An intense cardio workout that blends aspects of boxing, martial arts and aerobics.

Why it’s good for you: Repeating quick boxing drills boosts your heart rate, burns fat, and improves strength, flexibility and stamina.

Bring: Water and cross-training shoes (not running shoes) that allow you to move side-to-side easily.

Take note: Haven’t exercised lately? Take a basic aerobics class before trying kickboxing.

2. Yogaman doing yoga

What it is: A sequence of low-impact poses with special attention to deep breathing.

Why it’s good for you: Yoga improves flexibility, balance and blood flow. It also reduces stress, helps you sleep better, improves your mood and relaxes your muscles.

Bring: Water and a towel. You may want to bring a mat since some gyms and yoga studios charge a fee to use theirs.

Take note: Find a class that uses a yoga style that appeals to you. Kundalini yoga focuses on meditation, for instance; Bikram (also called hot yoga), Ashtanga and Power Yoga offer a more intense cardio workout.

3. Spinning

What it is: Challenging indoor cycling, where participants alternate resistance levels and revolutions per minute to increase their intensity.

Why it’s good for you: This great cardio workout builds stamina and strength.

Bring: Water and a washcloth.

Take note: Get the most out of spinning by asking your teacher to help adjust your seat and handlebar height before class starts.

4. Strength Classes

dumbellsWhat it is: A group workout using weights — and sometimes cross-training — to build up different muscle groups.

Why it’s good for you: Strength training can prevent muscle loss, build bone mass and help burn calories so you maintain a healthy weight.

Take note: Stretch your arms, back and leg muscles before and after class. This will prevent aches, muscle tears and injury.

5. Boot Camp

man doing pushupsWhat it is: An intense cross-training workout combining running, interval training and strength exercises.

Why it’s good for you:
Boot camp burns body fat, builds strength and enhances your overall fitness and cardiovascular efficiency.

Bring: Water and sturdy cross-training shoes (not running shoes) that allow you to run and move quickly and easily.

Take note: Many boot camp programs last four to six weeks. In these programs, the drill sergeant-like instructor will test your fitness level on the first and last days.

No matter which of these workouts you choose, start with a class that matches your level of fitness. You’ll get more out of your workout, reduce your risk of injury and boost your odds of returning for more.

Related Links:
Exercise Benefits You Inside and Out (MD Anderson)
Get Rid of Belly Fat to Fight Cancer (MD Anderson)
Yoga Benefits Include Preventing Cancer (MD Anderson)

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