As a dance major, I love movement, and even when I am not dancing in class, I take the time to exercise in ways that complement my dancing. The fitness classes at Rutgers are widely varied but my personal favorites are dance-based or yoga-based. All of these classes leave me with a sense of relaxation, whether that sense comes from the end of an energizing routine or a calming Shavasana.
1. Hatha Yoga
This class is great fit for students of any level by giving students different options throughout the class. If you are looking for a class that utilizes body-weight exercises that move at the pace of the whole class and that is more of an exercise in holding poses and breathing through them, Hatha would be a great fit for you. Building your muscular strength through poses like downward dog, front and side planks, and boat and improving your flexibility through poses like forward and wide-legged forward bend, high lunges, and Warrior 1 and 2, Hatha explores a wide range of motion to achieve a well-rounded physicality. Hatha ranges from being 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes depending on the time of day and whether it incorporates "Restorative Breath." This addition to the class increases the length of the Shavasana and incorporates different props to add a new sensation to that portion. This class is enjoyable whether you have friends with you or not but it is definitely a more personal exploration of movement and relaxation.
This is a dance aerobics class in which students learn eight 8-counts of hip-hop structured choreography, meaning no matter what teacher you have, the choreography will be the same. CIZE® uses the rhythmic style of hip-hop to test students' cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility, coordination, and balance. In the choreography I learned in the first half of this semester, the muscles that were the most activated were the abs, biceps, quads, glutes, and back muscles; it was truly a full-body workout that never felt like bothersome like some workouts may eventually seem like. As the moves are the same every week for about half a semester, going consistently means you’ll hopefully know the dance by the last class and you can focus even more on enjoying yourself. Even if you just go once, the atmosphere this class creates is a fun and stress-free one, one that bringing your friends into will make even more pleasant.
This class is another dance aerobics class mainly based on Latin dances. While the choreography in Cize® is mainly done at the same pace the whole time, Zumba® alternates between upbeat and laid back dances. Instructors do not have the same dances integrated into their classes so if you're looking for consistency within the class, attending the same teacher's classes is ideal. Most classes have dances that challenge muscular endurance and cardiorespiratory endurance while specifically activating abs, biceps and triceps, and quads. The class can be done by beginner or advanced students because the teacher offers layers of the choreography that you can do when you feel comfortable enough. This is another class where bringing your friends along would make the class even more lively; dancing with your friends in a safe environment, knowing that your getting exercise in while having fun, is an amazing feeling.
4. Vinyasa Yoga
This class is different from Hatha yoga as it moves at a much faster pace. The emphasis is on moving to a new position with each breath instead of holding a pose through many breaths. Vinyasa can be done by beginners who have some recognition of basic yoga poses but going into Vinyasa as a total newbie may not be practical. The class incorporates the same poses as Hatha but also incorporates other balancing poses, like eagle and Warrior 3, more strengthening poses, like chair and triangle pose, and other twisted or inverted poses. Vinyasa invites students to flow through different variations several times, which improves muscular endurance, before releasing to a more neutral position like downward dog or child's pose. This class, as most yoga tend to be, has students very focused and internalized, so going alone or with someone else should not affect the outcome of the class.
This class incorporates muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility training. Somewhat a fusion of yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates, this class seems familiar enough to yoga enthusiasts for them to feel comfortable but integrates elements of Tai Chi and Pilates in surprisingly fun ways. Muscular strength comes into play when you hold a pose and your quads, calves, and core is burning but then the teacher tells you to keep holding it, and in a moment of what feels like torture, you hold it for one more count and then relief and satisfaction rushes in when you're told you can stop. Muscular endurance is involved when you have to repeat that process, which may sound off-putting but it is highly worth it when you finally lay down at the end for a quick meditation. Throughout the class, the poses help to stretch students' legs, sides, backs, and necks. This class is enjoyable whether you have friends with you or not, especially because of the encouraging music the class is set to.