Healthy holidays? Take a class

So you like the idea of starting a fitness program during the holidays rather than waiting until the holidays are over and the damage done, but you need something with structure? Starting a walking program, as we’ve discussed, is good, but if you need something to hold your feet to the fire (or treadmill, as the case may be), then you may be surprised by the number of fitness classes offered by your local parks and rec that run between Thanksgiving and the new year. Most of the classes are offered two or three times a week, in the evenings. And because they’re through your local parks and rec., they aren’t expensive.

Raleigh Parks & Rec., for instance, has several classes that start this week and run four to five weeks. A low-impact aerobics course is ideal for ramping up a fitness regimen; The one at Raleigh’s Tarboro Road Community Center sets theirs to gospel music, and the $30 fee includes a pass to the weight room. That class starts Tuesday and runs twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:15-7:15 p.m., through Dec. 29.

If fun is a high priority in your workout, then check out the Belly Dance Fitness class at the Pullen Community Center, held every Monday between Dec. 7 and 28. Emphasis in this one-hour class is on flexibility and strength. Look for good abs as well. $30.

Personally, Cardio Kickboxing seems the perfect way to deal with holiday stress (not to mention it’s a total body workout). A Tuesday/Thursday class begins tomorrow at Laurel Hills Community Center, a Monday/Wednesday class on Dec. 7 at the Brier Creek Community Center. $35.

Most appropriate for the party-filled holiday season: Party-cise, at the Ralph Campbell Community Center not only meets the festive criteria, but because it’s a progressive class it “motivates you to attend every class so you won’t miss the next fun dance.” Tuesdays and Thursdays, tomorrow through Dec. 31. $10.

Raleigh’s classes are in the evening. Cary offers a lunch class — 12:15-12:45 p.m. — at its Herb Young Community Center called Lunch Crunch. The crunch is in reference to cramming an hour’s workout into half that time, a workout that includes high- and low-impact aerobics, kickboxing and toning exercises. $13 for Caryites, $18 otherwise, starts tomorrow and runs Tuesdays and Thursdays through Dec. 22.

In the Charlotte area, Mecklenburg County Parks and Rec. offers a variety of ongoing drop-in classes. So you didn’t start in September? No matter. At the Arbor Glen Outreach Center, for instance, there’s a low-impact Aerobic: Cardio Step workout Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. that you can drop into by the class ($2 a session) or buy a monthly pass ($10). Similarly, there’s an Aerobic: DanceOut! class Fridays from 5-7 p.m. Same thing: Drop in, pay $5 per class. In fact, most of Mecklenburg’s classes appear set up that way, affording easy holiday access.

Likewise, Greensboro P&R offers ongoing classes you can pay for by the year, by the quarter, by the class. At the Lewis Center, for instance, you can explore Belly Dancing (Mondays, 7:30-9:30 p.m.), Square Dancing (Fridays, 7-9:30 p.m.), or get in the proper frame of mind for hitting the mall with a little Zanshin Kai-Karate Do-GoJu, Thursdays (7-9 p.m.) and Saturdays (9 a.m.-noon).

The discipline of a class can be especially important this time of year when you may be more apt to think you’ve got too much to do to exercise. You’ve paid for the class, for one; You don’t want to lose out on your investment. People are expecting you (even if they’re people you don’t know, you have a sense of commitment). Because they’re people you don’t know they’re people who probably aren’t getting on your holiday-frayed nerves: You know, bosses demanding you meet year-end quotas, co-workers who seem to be spending all their time shopping for deals online when you’ve got year-end quotas to meet, children whining for the latest XGameBoyStationPlayBox, parents wondering what they did that’s kept you from wanting to ever come home again for the holidays — people like that.

In short, people who drive you to sweat.

3 thoughts on “Healthy holidays? Take a class”

  1. I enjoy water aerobic exercises and will proceed to go when I can. Although, I’m sticking more out of drawing and doing the elipitcal right now. I think it reckons on the teacher and how solid you work to see benefits. Some ladies are there just to socialize and move around which is great for them. When I was going 3 days a week, I could tell my body was in better shape! So aerobis exercise is good for health.

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