Great Fitness Classes for Moms

Boot camp and boxing classes provide excellent workouts for moms

fitness class
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Fitness classes at your local gym are a great way for moms -- and dads -- to get in shape while reducing their stress. Many fitness centers offer staples such as spinning and yoga. And if you want to ramp up your workout routine, more gyms today are offering options like fitness boot camp or kickboxing classes.

Physical activity causes your brain to release feel-good chemicals such as endorphins and dopamine, boosting mood and promoting a sense of calm.

And of course, there’s the satisfaction of seeing your arms and legs get more toned. So if you’re feeling a bit stressed out and out of shape -- and are looking for something a little more challenging than time on the treadmill -- look for fitness classes like these at your gym:

Boxing Classes

Many gyms now offer boxing classes and/or kickboxing classes. Boxing classes can build endurance, tone your muscles, and can give you a great cardiovascular workout. It can help improve your reflexes and coordination. And there’s nothing quite like pounding the heck out of the heavy bag to help release any bottled-up stress. Some gyms have boxing classes in which you can spar with an instructor or partners using padded mitts. Jump rope stations are also a staple of many boxing classes. All in all, boxing and kickboxing classes are a fun way to get in great shape.

Krav Maga

In Hebrew, krav maga means “contact combat.” Today, this form of martial arts is used by the Israeli army and many law enforcement agencies around the world.

But it’s also a great workout (many classes begin with push-ups, sit-ups, and squats), and it teaches skills that are especially invaluable for women such as how to escape choke holds and grabs from behind. In contrast to other styles such as taekwondo or karate, krav maga doesn’t teach a formal set of moves.

Instead, students quickly learn how to use punches, kicks, blocks and strikes to defend themselves in a fight (one reason why many actors use it to get themselves in fighting shape for action movie roles).

Fitness Boot Camp

This latest trend in fitness classes is based upon the military boot camp model. Many fitness boot camp classes are held outdoors depending on the weather, and include exercises such as push ups, squats, and jumping. The goal is to get you in the best shape possible through exercises and lifestyle tips designed to decrease body fat, boost cardiovascular activity and build strength. Many fitness boot camp classes incorporate nutrition counseling. Another added bonus is the sense of camaraderie that can build through working with others as a team; the idea of fitness boot camp is that you’ll be pushed to exercise more and go further than you would on your own if you are inspired by others around you. But despite the concept, the ideal fitness boot camp class should not be designed only for 20-year-olds in top condition.

Your instructor should be able to modify exercises to fit your ability and fitness level (modifying sit-ups and push-ups, for instance).

Before you sign up for any fitness class, make sure you check out the gym and the instructors. Ideally, a fitness instructor should be certified through national organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), American Council on Exercise (ACE) and should know basic first aid and CPR. And be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any workout and go slow. That old adage about putting the oxygen mask on yourself first before you tend to your kids really is true. So get yourself in great physical and emotional shape to tackle your job as mom or dad while feeling and looking your best.

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