Home Additional Reading 4 elegant workouts for people who hate going to the gym

4 elegant workouts for people who hate going to the gym

Working out regularly is one of the best things you can do for your health, because physical exercises reduce the risk of chronic conditions, help you stay in shape, keep you in a good mood and maintain your overall well-being. Provided that you find a form of physical exercise that you actually enjoy doing, that is.

Going to the gym has become quite a popular hobby lately, but still, there are people who either don't like the atmosphere at the gym or simply don't like the kind of strength and aerobics exercises you do there. If you are one of the people who want to improve flexibility and stay in shape by following a fitness routine that's based on fluid, elegant movements rather than on pure force, these 4 workouts are for you:

Yoga

Do you feel stiff at the end of the day, have bad posture, your joints crack whenever you move and find it hard to bend down to tie your shoelaces? In this case, a few yoga sessions are just what your body needs. Although yoga started out as a spiritual practice, you don't have to be of Buddhist faith to do it or enjoy its mental health benefits. Most importantly, yoga is a versatile form of exercise that builds core strength, while at the same time improving flexibility and perfecting your posture.

Don't let the complicated yoga poses you see online intimidate you. These are advanced positions that you only get to do after you've perfected the basics, so in the first sessions you will try simple, realistic poses that don't force you to push your limits. As you progress through your yoga journey, you will be able to try poses that require more flexibility.

You don't need expensive gear or apparel to start yoga. All it takes is a mat and some comfy clothes that allow you to stretch and bend easily. Yoga classes usually take place in serene, specially designed areas that promote peace of mind and inclusiveness (some experts even offer outdoor yoga sessions!), so you won't experience that competitive gym atmosphere. You can also do yoga at in the comfort of your own home, in the living room, and progress through your journey at your own pace.

Dance classes

If you find really hard to stay motivated and focused while doing sit-ups, but you're perfectly fine dancing away for half an hour without stopping, there's no need to feel bad. Dancing is actually one of the most effective ways to stay in shape and lose weight without realizing that you're working out. You may not be aware while you're doing it, but when you dance, you're actually using all your muscle groups and burning a lot of calories. After several weeks, you will notice not only that you are losing weight all over, but also that you're leaner, stronger, and in a better mood.

As for the dance class you should enroll in, it all depends on your current level of physical fitness and musical preferences. For example, if you are a beginner, you can start with line dancing, which is set to R&B or hip-hop and has more linear repetitive movements. If you want to work with a partner, try swing dancing, or salsa, if you're looking for something more intense. The most demanding dance class option is Zumba, which burns as much as 250 calories in 30 minutes. And, if you're really looking for a challenge, try pole dancing, which is as physically demanding as it is elegant and seductive.

Tai Cheng

Tai Cheng is a new form of exercise that uses a new method of Dynamic Motion control. Based on Thai Chi, the Tai Cheng workout involves making smooth, fluid movements to increase agility and balance, strengthen the body and improve coordination. Gentle and strong at the same time, Tai Cheng is one of the most artful workout routines, requiring you to be patient, resilient and disciplined.

Like most other forms of exercise inspired by Asian lifestyle, Tai Cheng is as beneficial for the body as it is for the mind. although Tai Cheng alone is not enough for serious weight loss, it can be used in combination with other programs to promote muscle healing and joint pain and maintain and optimum level of wellness. Like all the other workouts on this list, it doesn't require gym equipment, nor a lot of space, and you can try it from the comfort of your home, using an instructional DVD.

Ballet

Don't let the petite and graceful figures of ballerinas fool you: ballet is actually one of the most physically demanding forms of exercise, requiring strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. You need years and years of daily practice to get to the level of professional ballerinas, but, if you're looking for an elegant workout to increase strength and tone your body, you should definitely follow a ballet-inspired fitness program.

From Natalie Portman's famous Black Swan workout to Mary Helen Bowers's viral YouTube videos, there are many sources of inspiration to guide you through your first steps in the ballet world. One word of caution for anyone starting ballet workouts, regardless of their level of experience, is not to underestimate the difficulty of the exercises. At first, the idea of flapping your arms in the air gracefully as if flying sounds really simple, but it takes about one minute to realize that it's harder than it looks and that you'll definitely have trouble moving them the next day. So, stick to the lessons as indicated and be patient when doing the moves.