Do you suffer from ceo-itis?
That is a word I made up a long time ago that captured highly intelligent powerful clients of mine (executives as well as moms!) who were busy making decisions all day long. When it came time to figure out how or what to do to exercise, they suffered from decision making fatigue, and found themselves doing nothing in the face of so many choices.
I was reminded of this conundrum the other day when my very crazy busy brother caught me on the phone and said, “I was calling to ask you what you thought I should do to exercise.” I was really surprised. He normally throws himself on a bike and rides big chunks of miles in the early hours of the morning. However, he has a nagging shoulder thing, had a previous foot thing, and is traveling far more than he has in awhile. All of this cut severely into his outdoor biking.
My suggestion was to hit a group exercise format class. Your job is to show up, and let the instructor do the rest– play music, tell you what to do, and if you can follow along you are all set.
In that group exercise spirit, I had the great pleasure of being invited to try out a class whose International Headquarters happen to be in downtown Portland, OR.
Ever heard of NIA?
I had seen the class taking place at Club Sport where I work, and had attended a class probably a decade ago. It used to stand for “non-impact aerobics” but later more accurately morphed into “neuromuscular integrative action“. Coincidentally, Nia in Swahili means “with purpose“. The founders noticed their 50+ teachers in their aerobics studio were constantly injured. That isn’t good for business.
The website breathemovedance.com states, “They began to seek for a way to exercise based on comfort, passion, and pleasure. As they learned more about the martial arts, they took off their shoes. Their discoveries revolutionized fitness styles and is now recognized as one of the most innovative and safe cardiovascular programs to date.”
Barefoot is brilliant.
We’ve talked about the barefoot running revolution in an earlier blog. We know that the more cushion a shoe has, the less the lower leg muscles have to work and the more injuries come about with the lower leg and foot. Additionally, we have talked about the importance of doing intervals. The entire length of a song is certainly a long interval, but they take a measured break in between songs, and this qualifies it as a interval workout.
The choreography is what they call Fusion Fitness.
There are nine distinct movement forms in three categories: dance, martial arts, and healing arts. Specifically, they target jazz, modern, and Duncan dance; tai chi, tae kwon do, and aikido; and yoga, Feldenkrais, and Alexander Technique. Mix in an incredibly eclectic play list and you’ve got infinite possibilities. Plus you know you are in a fun place when there is a disco ball on the ceiling!
I brought along a cute (he says cute is for bunnies and prefers “ruggedly handsome” 😉 male scientist to test out this class and get the logical male perspective. There were 8 people in class with us and one other man. I was impressed with the variety of moves, the variety of music, and the fun of being barefoot while dancing around. At all times the instructor demonstrated level 1, level 2, and level 3 moves within moves. So was our scientist. The only part he had a hard time with was the “free dance” time, and he thought that most guys might also have a hard time with it.
I have observed over time that most women take advantage of group exercise dance classes far more than men, so the ration of men to women in class was what I have seen in all other formats. Why men don’t get in there and shake their booty is beyond me, especially single men. What a great place to meet women! 🙂
Finally, Nia offers nuances of Nia in various class formats that I took photos of on the way out. Here are a few on their calendar:
Get a jump start on those holidays! Need a little variety in your workout? Try Nia, or something that is letting someone else make the safe and sane exercise decisions. These guys have thought this through! Make sure whatever you choose, you feel better when you leave and long term doesn’t cause problems.
Have you ever used a group format to get your workout done? Which one? What do you like or dislike about it?