What are the 5 best ways to stay fit?

Mix up your fitness routine
Corporate fitness class in Sydney

Instagram, Facebook, morning TV, news feeds, café chats, little sisters, boyfriends’ and the list continues, are all telling us about the best way to stay fit. So if you’re looking for a way to workout and feel overwhelmed by all the different options, we don’t blame you!

We’ve made it easy for you, with the top 5 ways of staying fit listed her for you. We draw down to 5 workout styles that will challenge each area of your fitness and also nurture better cognition and mood for mental and cognitive improvement. These workout styles are suitable for everyone: dance, pilates, zumba, barre and yoga.

Combine these classes with positive mindset and good food, you’ll feel 10 years younger in no time.

Why do I have to workout anyway?

We have one body in this life. And the health of our body impacts on the health of our mind. The health of our mind impacts our relationships with others and ourselves, our work, our prosperity and so much more! It is all so interdependent that staying healthy is a no brainer!

Being healthy means being balanced in every part of life, so while eating healthy working out is an important step to staying healthy, so is our mental health. Luckily many studies have shown how working out has a positive effect on our cognition, mood, self- love and self-talk. It also in-turn is often a catalyst to improve eating habits. That is why we start out by looking at the 5 best work out options that not only support physical improvement but also mental and cognitive improvements.

1. Dance

All types of dance are great to stay fit in a balanced way. And there are so many options to choose from!

Hip Hop is an amazing dance style that works every part of your body, and is great to build muscle and cardio. It also works on some flexibility depending on the style or era of Hip Hop you choose.

Ballet is also a great option. Adult ballet classes help to get toned, improve posture and agility. Barre is another option with a more cardio and functional movements (see below).

Partner dancing is best dance option when it comes to physical, cognitive and mental improvement. Partner dancing includes:

It is the most impactful is it really does work out all areas of fitness, cognitive improvement and self image.

No matter the dance, you will be using muscles throughout your body, promoting weight loss, toning, strength and power. To move around the dance floor (especially with slower dances!), you will challenge and better your cardiovascular fitness, muscle control, endurance, stamina and flexibility. You’ll also find as your dance continues, your balance will be amazing and your posture beautiful, just like a dancer!

You’ll also experience improved cognitive functions, better self image and strong mind-body connection. Partner dancing requires a lot of mental energy, considering steps, direction and also your partner! There is a leader and a follower and their roles are very different, so you learn so much about movement through connection.

Partner dancing also contributes to stronger relationships as your partner is required to feel with you during the dance. You can then start to take that new ability to feel with someone beyond our class. So grab your partner and take dance lessons so you feel and look better in your own skin, and feel and look better together!

2. Pilates

This is an amazing workout. You will move slow, but with these concentrated and aligned movements, you will burn and tone. Pilates is amazing for posture, alignment, cardio and strength. You’ll build muscles and lose weight with pilates. If you have an injury or an ailment that is triggered by movement or cardiovascular fitness, but you need to move, pilates is an amazing option for you.

You’ll feel the change in your body after 5 sessions, and find that your mind-body connection is very strong. The movements are very prescriptive, so for those of you who just like to slam it out, please give this a try. Slowing down is also a wonderful discipline for the mind, not just the body. It will teach you how to honour your body, and recognise the messages your body gives you a little better. You’ll also see the same if not better results, and sweat just as much, while being kind to your body.

3. Zumba

You either love it or hate it. But wait, try it first! Give it a go before you throw it out the window, but you will need to commit to 3 classes to be certain. The first class is always a doozy! Oh yes! But if you attend a smaller group class for zumba, your teacher will recognise what styles you took to, what styles you may be great at, and program them in the next class you are in. That way you can get a feel for it, and slowly build up more and more styles.

Many people think zumba is pure cardio. While it is cardio heavy, it also works on balance, stamina, flexibility and believe it, muscular strength. My first set of abs were credited to zumba! The amount of ab work required for a Samba, Salsa or even Hip Hop dance is immense. So you’ll get the best of both worlds, while making a lot of crazy friends along the way!

4. Barre

If you like a challenge, barre is for you!

Many people are tending towards circuit or HIIT workouts for a challenge. These are based on functional movements that challenge your body overall. Often these workouts rely on intense actions that can compromise joints and ligaments.

Barre will give you the same burn, the same sweat, include functional movements but without the impact of slamming 10 burpees, then throwing and running after a 10kg medicine ball, then doing 10 push ups in 10 seconds, and forgetting your form in the urgency.

The beautiful thing about barre is the class follows a variety of tempos, so you can start a form-critical action slow and then bring up the tempo when your form is perfect!  So cardio is safe. And you can build muscle and tone with your own body weight, or use those bonus weights and other accessories to push that little further. So you will plank, burpee, passé, relivé, curtsy, can can, chest press and more in a high intensity but low impact barre class. Your joints will be protected, your back safe and your knees thankful!

Barre is great to lose weight, tone, build balance, improve coordination, concentrate on core strength, align your body for improved posture, connect your mind and body, feel good as you can see the changes and your improvement from class to class.

5. Yoga

There is a large variety of yoga styles that you can choose from.

Most gyms and studios do a cross of Vinyasa and Hatha. You will also come across Yin, Ashtanga and Remedial, a Japanese yoga.

Done with precision, while being present throughout the class, and breathing aligned with movement, you will sweat through the yoga class, no matter the style. Many people associate yoga with flexibility, but that is not all it promotes. It promotes strength and endurance, and some cardiovascular fitness. It is a wonderful tool to build that mind-body connection, and balance.

Just like pilates, the more you do yoga, the harder it gets. As you start to dip deeper and deeper into your positions, you’ll find a whole new world or possibilities from class to class.

It does amazing things for mindfulness and spirituality, so that zen feeling is also a positive!

Mix up your workouts throughout the week to get the best of every workout style

We also suggest that you mix up a variety of workout styles throughout the week. Sticking to one style only from week to week is great to get accustomed with the style, but it will also help you reach that dreaded fitness plateau faster and for longer.

So try to do something different everyday! If you barre or zumba on Monday, pilates on Tuesday, barre on Wednesday, yoga on Thursday, and zumba on Friday, and Saturday morning, pilates.