Healthy Habits: Exercise Classes Can Change Up Your Routine

 

Signing up for an exercise class is a great way to add variety to your weekly cardio routine. And let's face it — misery loves company, right? Having companions with you to sweat through all that cardio can be a great motivator.

exercise class images

Just be sure that if it's a cardiovascular class, it involves a minimum of 45 minutes of activity and keeps your heart rate up. For maximum calorie burn, I recommend working out at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, or MHR. (To calculate your MHR, subtract your age from 220. Multiply that number by .85 to get your target heart rate.) Wear a heart rate monitor or check your pulse a few times during the class to make sure you're staying on track.

Go to your local gym or fitness center and see whether you can get in on one of these bad boys:

Spinning: Climb on the bike and pedal to motivational music and instruction. Spinning doesn't require a whole lot of coordination, and you can go at your own pace; in any case, it's a real calorie burner.

spinning

Step: Start stepping up and down to the beat of your step aerobics instructor. The stepping motion offers a boost to cardio by adding another level of intensity.

step exercise

Boot camp: This high-intensity workout will kick your butt — in a good way. It's a combination of cardio and strength training, and it works the whole body.

boot camp images

Kickboxing: A personal favorite of mine, kickboxing aerobics classes incorporate punching and kicking motions and are great for toning muscles and releasing pent-up stress.

kickboxing

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