Before I get into this, let me first say variety is important. Below are recommendations if you’re looking for a certain type of workout, but overall I’d say try them all. You don’t want to get stuck doing the same workout, using the same muscles each day, so try a few different things and rotate them through the week. With that said, if you’re after certain results, here’s what workout to do based on your goals:
Increased Flexibility: While many forms of exercise may make your muscles feel tight, yoga and pilates will help loosen up your body while increasing flexibility. In addition, yoga can help ease muscle pains, tone and give you peace of mind. There are many types of yoga; power yoga, like Ashtanga is more intense, while Hatha is a slower-paced, gentle style. As for pilates, you can go for a mat class which uses gravity and your body weight (and possibly blocks, a magic circle or other props) or you can go for a private or small group session taught on reformers (typically more expensive than mat classes).
Tone Up: Bar classes are sort of a mash-up of yoga, pilates and ballet, put into an interval training workout to help tone and shape muscles. Even though you may be holding one position or making just a slight movement, you will definitely feel the burn. In addition to burning fat and toning muscles, bar classes have been known to lead to better posture, something us desk-workers could really use.
Stronger Stamina: Working towards a big race or just looking to have better stamina in general? Top options are running, spinning and swimming. If you’re new to working out, start small and work your way up. If you’re new to running, try jogging for 30 seconds and walking for 1 minute, repeated for 20 minutes. As you get stronger, increase the jogging time and decrease the walking time until you’re running for the full 20 mins. Build up from there. If it’s spinning you’re new to, don’t be intimidated! You are in control of your own resistance so if you get tired, simply lower it. Even though it’s a group setting, it’s your own ride; push yourself as hard as you can, and don’t worry about how much resistance the person next to you has on their bike. As for swimming, this is an awesome full-body workout and also low impact if you have healing injuries.
Build Strength: If you’re looking to build some serious muscle or just become strong enough to lift your suitcase into the overhead compartment on your next trip, CrossFit may be for you. This high-intensity fitness program is typically made up of shorter workouts (around 20 minutes) but they are an all out fit-fest. It may be only 20 minutes, but you are going hard for every second of it. TRX is another strength-building workout, which uses a suspension trainer and your body weight to increase strength (especially core strength) and is a tough total-body workout.
Get Your Sweat On: If you drank a little too much and are looking to sweat out the toxins, or you just want a good sweat, Bikram Yoga is for you. This 90-minute class is taught in 105 degree heat, 40% humidity. There is no way you can leave this class not drenched in sweat. If you want a sweat but yoga isn’t your thing, many spin classes have a similar effect – soaked-through tank tops. Some teachers are more friendly with the fans, but find one who prefers the heat and you’ll be dripping in no time.
Have Fun: If you’re a dancing kind of gal, check out Zumba, Ballet or Pole Dancing (so not my thing, but maybe yours). I’ll be honest, my dancing ability is pretty nonexistent so whenever I try these classes I can barely keep up and don’t get much of a workout. However, if you’re a good dancer (or just better at faking it than me), try a dance class and you’ll get healthy benefits, plus you’ll have a good time doing it.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock