Fit 3 Ways
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It's that time of year again. The holidays are over, your pants are fitting a bit tighter, and it's getting more difficult to get out of bed in the morning. January offers the perfect time to renew ourselves and break bad habits. For some, renewal may mean getting back on a healthy track. For others, however, it means finally undertaking long overdue lifestyle changes. There are plenty of options out there to get fit but with each of us having different schedules, interest and levels of endurance, deciding which one is best can be more challenging than the first workout. We've looked at three of the new choices available in Barrie to inspire those who are putting together a plan to get off that couch.

Hot Yoga

Moksha, loosely translated, means freedom or liberation, and originates in the Indian religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Hot yoga is designed to cleanse the body as well as the mind by performing a series of positions in a hot, purified, and humidified studio.
“[In a one-hour class], you burn up to 1,000 calories,” said Rosanna Trapani of Moksha Yoga Barrie. “The first time I tried it my heart was beating faster than when I was running races and I'd never sweat like that in my life.”
Sweating means detoxification and is one of the key benefits of hot yoga. The skin is the largest organ and sweating profusely is the best way to detoxify. It's great for the skin and Trapani warns that body parts, such as ears and feet, will sweat even though participants might not believe it's possible.
The high calorie consumption comes from an increased heart rate that provides the cardio aspect of the workout, even though participants remain on their mats. Other benefits include improvements in flexibility, digestion, core strength and energy levels.
“Before I started hot yoga I used to feel really fatigued,” said Trapani. “Now I feel so energized and
 physically fit but that's just the physical side of it. Yoga is so much more.”
By more, she's referring to the dramatic reductions in stress that clients may experience whether it originates from depression, insomnia or chronic pain. “People with chronic pain find the warmth and stretching of hot yoga really helps since when we're in pain we're more stressed.” Even clients who aren't dealing with underlying issues find yoga brings a calmness and balance into their life that wasn't there before.
“For some people, their [New Year's] resolution might be simply to feel better. Hot yoga is a good place for that since it encompasses everything.”
Hot yoga is accessible to everyone as participants are led through the positions by a certified instructor and are able to modify their movements depending on their desire and ability.
For those looking to experience the heat, Moksha Yoga Barrie offers a month-long trial for $40. Bring a yoga mat, towel, water and, for some, an electrolyte drink.


Zumba Dancing

Zumba dancing is a fitness craze that continues to grow in popularity. Classes typically last an hour and involve performing energetic Latino dance moves to music that resembles salsa, samba, flamenco and line dancing.
“It's about laughing and moving and feeling the beat,” said Emily Abbott of Zumba With Emily, whose music selection includes Bollywood, country, and Merengue.
What people love about Zumba is that it gives them a chance to get up and shake their bodies with their friends without worrying about being judged or laughed at. It's not important to get the steps right but to be up there moving and letting go.
“I break [the steps] down and make it fun. And as we progress we bring it up a notch.”
The routines usually run in six-week cycles. As dancers master the moves, they can push deeper into the workout and realize increasing cardio, core and balance benefits. It's essentially an hour-long aerobic dance workout that provides plenty of opportunity for improved fitness and weight loss.
Abbott says she dropped 45 pounds when she first started.
“I had even become a certified fitness instructor but my heart wasn't there. As soon as I tried Zumba, I loved it.”
Due to its openness and inclusiveness, Zumba is accessible to everyone. Abbott's mother has multiple sclerosis and participates in Zumba in her wheelchair. Mother and daughter pairs also come out together as a way to get fit and have fun.
“Women look forward to coming and developing friendships. They come here for motivation and for encouragement from other women. They don't get that at home.”
Men are welcome at Zumba but most participants are women.
Abbott recommends people try Zumba and offers a free first class to allow potential dancers to try it out.
“I believe anybody has the right to be fit and I think that's what Zumba can give you.”
During the summer months, classes take place outdoors at Sunnidale Park.
“We had 30 women out every Tuesday night dancing in the park. It was fantastic.”

Physiotherapy and movement rehabilitation

Lifesource Wellness is bringing something to Barrie that is new in the menu of fitness options. Based on a model that puts kinesiologists in the lead hands-on role, owner Darren Kenney has brought together two environments that were formerly separate: the fitness and
clinical environment.
“We are specialists in human movement,”
said Kenney, who has clients ranging from 75 year old women to 18-year-old high level athletes. “Most dysfunctions take place because of movement patterns.”
When clients come to Kenney with a complaint of back or knee pain, he initially looks at the client's movement and compensations to determine which patterns are creating the discomfort. Through a two to three-month
process, he helps people develop better movement patterns and increase their fitness level so that, by the time they leave, they are ready for any recreational or sporting activity. The weight loss and improvements in health are a convenient and positive off-shoot.
Kenney divides our activities into two modes: low load and high load. Low load is our regular day-to-day activities like standing or driving, or sitting at our desk. Most of us don't experience pain or discomfort at that load level. It is when we transition into high load in activities that range from simply lifting a weight off the ground to aerobics that
problems or injury can occur.
Anyone who has ever started a new fitness regime come January 1st but hasn't made it through the month knows the routine.
“We go from low load directly to high load activity on Jan 3. Since the body isn't stabilized within three weeks, it breaks down. It's why most people don't end up being successful. Not because of a lack of motivation but due to injury.”
Kenney's consultation process has three elements: the client's perspective as in whether or not they believe they can do it; managing expectations on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis, and compliance. Kenney requires a 12- week commitment and lays out specifically what
people can expect to achieve once they've
fulfilled their commitment. He charges $100 per hour.
“After four weeks, people reach a level of self-sufficiency. By the end, they will be able to perform with good stability and handle any range of dynamic activity.”
The program also includes a nutritional component so people can understand what their body needs to be at its best. Ultimately,
Kenney's approach is about living well. Consultations normally end after two or three months, depending on the client, and sets them up for a healthy active lifestyle free of pain.

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