The workout low-down

A quick listing of the latest and the most popular exercise trends on the circuit; what each entails and how it helps you

People are often confused about which type of exercise is right for them. This exercise directory tells you what to expect from different workout trends. It also assesses the ability of each workout routine to build aerobic stamina, burn fat, build muscle and increase flexibility or coordination. Use this information to know what style of workout suits your goals and temperament; then select the best option suited to your needs.


spinning exerciseA recent trend, spinning is a form of group workout, done on exercise bikes usually for about 30 – 75 minutes, depending on your fitness level. Spinning is done indoors—several exercise bikes are lined up, and the instructor who is also on a bike, guides the participants through a series of phases that begin with a warm-up increase in intensity and end with a cool-down. The workout is designed to simulate challenges faced during mountain biking.

Spinning burns fat, builds muscle, builds aerobic stamina and improves coordination.Spinning is good for those who already have a good fitness level. A good spinning class gives your heart and lungs an intense workout, while also building strength in the legs. It is excellent for fat burning. But you do need to feel confident on a bike. The instructor takes you through hill climbs, sprint races, time trials and group races.


Yoga is a fantastic way to improve suppleness, strength and de-stress the mind. It improves blood flow around the body through holding postures and controlled breathing techniques.

Yoga increases flexibility, tones muscles, improves blood circulation and builds aerobic stamina.Yoga can be challenging, relaxing or simply therapeutic. It also brings mind-body awareness.


kick boxingKick-boxing involves kicking and punching moves. A kick-boxing workout session can either be a contact [with another person] or non-contact [alone] session. This exercise class needs great coordination and power to keep up with the fast changing drills and routines.

Kick-boxing burns fat, builds muscle, builds aerobic stamina and improves coordination. As the routine picks up speed, the heart rate rises and the workout becomes a cardiovascular one.

Aerobic class/step aerobics

The main aim of an aerobic class is to raise the heart rate and burn calories. A step workout uses a step to achieve similar goals.

Aerobics burns fat, builds stamina and improves coordination. These exercise forms improve cardiovascular stamina, burn fat, and develop muscular endurance. But both forms need good hand and leg coordination.


salsa aerobicsThis is a form of dance that has been modified into an exercise class. Aerobic and salsa moves are combined to make a great workout for those who enjoy salsa dance.

Salsa-aerobics improves coordination, increases flexibility, builds aerobic stamina and burns fat.Although the intensity of this workout is low, it is an effective programme if done regularly for a long duration.

Boot camp

This workout is derived from the tough physical training of the army. A typical boot camp session involves squat thrusts, sit-ups, sprinting and other intense exercises—based on a circuit-training format that requires you to do a series of exercises for a set period of time. The class can last from 45 minutes – 2 hours.

The boot camp burns fat, builds muscle, tones the body, builds aerobic strength, increases flexibility and improves coordination. This form of training works the heart and muscles and provides an intense workout.


Aqua aerobicsThe aerobic session involves dynamic movements against the waters resistance to increase the heart rate. Floats and paddle are added to increase resistance.

Aqua aerobics burns fat, builds aerobic strength and stamina, tones muscle and increases flexibility. The resistance of water makes this workout effective. The body is lighter in water so there is less stress on the joints.

Body pump

This workout uses body weight and an adjustable barbell to increase the intensity of the exercises. The exercises used are varied but include squats, bench press, shoulder press, bicep curls and lunges. This workout involves quickly moving from one controlled exercise to another. It shapes, tones and defines the entire body.

Body pump builds muscle and tones the body.


pilatesPilates concentrates primarily on developing strong stomach and back muscles. All the movements aim to develop core strength. Pilates improves posture and flexibility, however, it is not effective as a fat-burning exercise form.

Pilates builds core strength, increases flexibility, tones muscle and improves coordination.

T’ai chi

This is an ancient Chinese exercise characterised by slow, graceful movements. In Chinese philosophy, Chi is the energy force that gives the body vitality. T’ai chi is almost like a meditative exercise form; its emphasis is on inner strength.

T’ai Chi increases flexibility, improves coordination and increases mind-body connection and awareness.

Namita Jain
Namita Jain is a Mumbai-based certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle and Weight management Consultant from the American Council on Exercise [ACE] and certified Health and Fitness Instructor from the American College of Sports Medicine [ACSM]. She is the Founder of LiveActive, a wellness company that delivers effective and holistically designed wellness programmes based on individual needs.


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