Combination classes (hybrid exercise classes) are among the latest trends at fitness centers everywhere. These classes give you a chance to spice up your routines and also give you a chance to sample several different disciplines.
People are often resistant to change but a hybrid class can put a new perspective on things. Hybrid classes borrow the better of two complementary workouts and fuse them together, but a good hybrid class is more than just slapping two exercise forms together with up-beat music. Ideally a class offers a cardiovascular workout as well as strength and flexibility training.
Camille Noe Pagan (Arthritis Today: May/June 2011) discusses the pros and cons of adding a hybrid workout to your routine. If you are seeing terms such as AI CHI, Gyrontonics, Piloxing, Yogalaties and Zumba in your fitness brochures, you aren’t seeing double and they aren’t typographical errors. Let’s look at some of the combinations: AI CHI (water aerobics + tai chi), Gyrontonics (multiple disciplines like gymnastics, yoga, ballet and tai chi), Piloxing (Pilates + boxing), Yogalaties (Yoga + Pilates) and Zumba (aerobics + Latin dance). People are loving fusion fitness because it is challenging and novel.
The hybrid workout can introduce you to more than one form of exercise and also introduce an element of fun. Fun is especially important if your current routine is getting boring. Monotony is a killer when it comes to maintaining a “fitness for life” program. In a hybrid program you will use more muscle groups and that should reduce the incidence of repetitive stress and injury while boosting over all fitness.
Before giving it a try, be sure that the instructor has experience working with people of all ages and physical capabilities. Look for a class that includes a gentle, flexibility-enhancing exercise such as Pilates or tai chi. Let the instructor know that you are a newbie and may need to modify some of the moves. A good instructor will ease you gently into the flow. and make helpful suggestions without making you feel like the odd man out. A good instructor will offer modifications for different physical and fitness needs. Go slowly. You don’t need to do all of the moves right from the beginning. Focus on learning your new workout rather than attempting to do it as the highest impact possible, and don’t try to keep up with more experienced exercisers. If you like to know the moves before taking a class, start with a beginner skill level DVD. The idea should be to get movement into your life and have fun.