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From Bellydancing to Boxing!

A Healthy Lifestyle Doesn't Have To Be Boring With These Fun Options

January is typically a time when everyone starts thinking about healthy habits, slimming down in the new year or doing something good for their health.

However, the typical gym experience can be off-putting to many.  A new study finds half of Americans find no joy in physical exercise. The poll of 2,000 people found 50 percent don’t work out as much as they’d like because they just don’t enjoy it. In fact, they hate it so much that 25 percent would be willing to text their ex and even cancel Netflix for a year to get out of working out for the rest of their lives.

If you are one of those people, no worries! Turns out exercise can be fun if you are moving in a way you enjoy. Here are some alternative workout and health classes and habits that can make burning calories so much fun!

1. Shimmy Yourself Slender

Bellydancing isn't just a fun way to move, it's proven to have major physical and mental health benefits too! According to WorldBellydance.com, this form of dance helps relieve joint pain, helps increase bone density, helps in weight loss, reduces stress levels and improves self-confidence.

The Aalim Dance Academy in Oklahoma City at aalimokc.com is Oklahoma's non-profit dance studio whose mission is to "To promote positive awareness in celebration of movement and music through the dances of North Africa, Southwest Asia, Turkey and Greece, and to empower individuals by providing an authentic and inclusive learning environment."

"Bellydance is low impact and perfect for all ages and body types. Bellydancing is so fun that it doesn’t even feel like exercise," said Aalim Board President Ayperi Al Jawahir.
"Our Intro to Bellydance classes are perfect for folks who dont' have any dance experience because we start from the very basic movements. It’s a great way to meet new people and learn about the different cultures that bellydance comes from."

The studio offers in-person and online classes weekly that range from Introduction to Bellydance to Advanced classes. Students learn the basic movements and history of the cultural dance through fun classes that are meant for ALL bodies. In addition, many students find a community and deep friendships in the world of bellydance.

For more information or to enroll in classes, visit aalimokc.com.

2. Hitting Your Health - Literally

If you're looking to knock out some stress while getting a great workout, Boxing may be the perfect choice. Oklahoma City has a slew of boxing clubs that offer classes and boot camps for kids, adults and beginners. 

Some boxing clubs like Victory Boxing Club at victoryboxingclub.com even have children's classes that are designed to help children build their self-confidence while learning important self-defense skills. 

Boxing is a great workout for a number of reasons. According to Harvard Health, "Fitness boxing is also a great aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise gets your heart pumping and helps lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes."

Boxing also has the added benefit of  improving eye-hand coordination, especially if you're sparring on a bag, hitting padded targets, or just "shadow" boxing. 

Some local boxing clubs include Title Boxing Club in Edmond (titleboxingclub.com), Western Avenue Boxing Gym (westernavenueboxinggym.com), and  kickboxing classes at the Oklahoma City Area YMCA (ymcaokc.com).

3. Hike Your Way To Health

Hiking in the outdoors benefits the heart, mind and body in so many ways. Some of the health benefits of hiking include lowering your risk of heart disease, improving blood pressure, building strength in your glutes and legs and improving mental health.

The great outdoors reduces stress, calms anxiety, and can lead to a lower risk of depression, according to researchers at Stanford University.

Oklahoma has several hiking clubs that you can join for a bit of socialization as well. One hiking club, GRIT Hikers, is led by Lori Ford, but Oklahoma City has tons of hiking clubs to join.

"On a typical 4-5 mile trip, we go hiking, bouldering, off-trail exploring and even light climbing up to 2,200’ high mountains," said Lori.

"The natural movements give a more rewarding form of cross-training than one achieves with typical gym equipment. After one woman tackles a particularly difficult bouldering maneuver, she turns back to coach the woman behind her through the problem. Those team-building lessons and camaraderie level up our individual confidence levels."

4. Trampolines Aren't Just For Kids

Oklahoma City and Edmond have numerous trampoline parks, which offer up fun physical activities for every age. The trampoline parks allow you to jump, bounce and do tricks, but in addition to all the fun, jumping on trampolines is also great exercise.

Burn up to 1,000 calories an hour jumping on trampolines, but also improve your balance and coordination. Many trampoline parks, like Elevation Trampoline Park in Edmond, have group fitness classes.

5. Stretch and Release

Taking yoga classes at a studio is a great way to supplement your strength and cardio training at the gym by improving mobility, flexibility and whole body strength.

"I teach a specialty class at Dragon Yoga (OKC’s first Pay What You Can studio) every Tuesday called Myo-fascial Release. Myo-fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds and encompasses your muscles, joints, and body systems. When myo-fascia is constricted, so does movement and system processes," said Kat Dinh, yoga teacher and ayurveda wellness coach and owner of Seeking Soma Yoga & Ayurveda

"In my class, we use foam rollers, tennis balls and other props to focus on hydrating and relieving constricted myo-fascia. It feels like a great deep tissue massage you give to yourself.

For more information, email kat@seekingsoma.org.

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