Once the Christmas season ends, we inevitably find ourselves making New Year’s resolutions about our bodies. We spend our early mornings and evenings sweating it out at the gym, logging kilometers on that treadmill to nowhere.
But by February or March that gym membership begins to get a little dusty. Just like any endeavor you undertake, in order to be successful in a new exercise regime, you should love what you are doing. This season, we suggest stepping off that treadmill and trying something new right here in your neighbourhood.
Shake It Till you Break It
Belly dancing comes from ancient Egypt and is thought to be the oldest form of dancing. At Danforth and Broadview is Hannan’s Belly Dancing Studio, which offers classes for participants of all ages and all abilities.
Belly dancing is a low impact exercise that anyone can participate in, but don’t think that means you won’t see results. “You can expect to see greater definition on your arms, legs, core, butt, and so much more, giving you the ultimate workout experience,” says Artistic Director Nada El Masriya.
She believes that belly dancing is a great way to get healthy. She says that one of the goals of belly dancing is to make participants feel comfortable in their own skin, that belly dancing is “for the mind, body and soul.”
And because belly dancing is ever-evolving and changing, it is a form of fitness you can do for life and not get bored.
For those of you wanting to shake it at Hannan’s Belly Dancing Studio, drop in classes are $23+GST, and sessions are available starting at $100 for 6 classes.
So if the mood strikes you, get out of those boring gym clothes, wrap yourself in a bright scarf and shake your way to a healthier body. And maybe hypnotize a few people along the way with your sultry moves.
Climb Your Way to Fit
Just north of Danforth Ave is The Toronto Climbing Academy. Open since 1993 and with a new facility having opened a year ago, The Toronto Climbing Academy offers 86 climbing stations with 120 different climbs and 4000 sq. ft. of bouldering climbs.
Co-owner Sacha Akalski says that rock climbing is a total workout for the body and the mind. “You have to be focused and ignore what is going on around you. It is a workout for your arms and legs and the reaching helps with flexibility.” Akalski likens rock climbing to a movement piece or dancing. It utilizes the strength in your legs as much as possible, but you don’t have to be a fitness guru to participate.
Akalski wants new participants to understand it is hard work but also a lot of fun. “You come with a partner or we match you up with one. With your partner there is trust and support and you challenge each other.”
For first time climbers, The Toronto Climbing Academy mandates an introduction course before you can climb on your own. For $37, a two-hour class teaches all the safety needed to climb in the gym with your partner. When the class is over, you have free reign in the gym. Once you’ve had an introduction class, it costs $16 to drop in and climb, with an extra small fee for shoes and equipment. Memberships are available for additional savings.
If you want something new and challenging, indoor rock climbing is a great option. So climb to the sky! Or at least until you hit the ceiling.