No longer will women sweat to oldies music with Richard Simmons or do aerobics with Jane Fonda.
Innovative cardio classes and instructional hula,belly dance and even exotic dancing videos,offer women an entertaining twist on fitness,and they're buying.
Kili Kilihune,a hula and Tahitian dance instructor from Maui,said although hula has been around since Hawaiians have been walking the earth,more people are beginning to discover physical benefits of the dance.
Kilihune designed the Hula Workout video to show others the “beauty that comes from within” while using hula for fitness.
“The combination of fluidity and control in each hula move is why it is effective in toning the hips,abs,legs and arms,” Kilihune said.
Though beginners find some hip movements unusual and use new,the seven basic hula movements become easier with practice and make the dancer feel graceful and confident,Kilihune said.
“People forget they’re exercising until they start breaking a sweat,” Kilihune said. “My classes are continually growing with new,beautiful faces.”
An AFAA certified aerobics instructor and Miss Hawaiian Islands in 1999,Kilihune said hula and Tahitian dance will continue gaining popularity because they are different from traditional exercises.
“The hula is very effective and burns just as many calories as any other form of aerobic exercise,” she said. “It all depends on the intensity and the effort that you put into it.”
Fellow hip-shaker Rania,two-time Belly Dancer of the Universe Champion,also shares her secret to staying in shape on a Bellydance Fitness for Weight Loss video.
Belly dance is exciting because though it is a dance,it is not rigid like tap dancing,Rania said. It involves more self-expression – people get into the costumes and become a whole new person.
“People aren't normally taught to shimmy and undulate as belly dancers do – once you get going,it's fun and before you know it,you've had a workout,” Rania said.
A certified fitness instructor,Rania said belly dance especially stretches and strengthens hip,abdominal and lower back muscles without putting stress on the joints.
“If you're doing step aerobics or kickboxing,you would probably get bored with it after a while,” Rania said. “Women stick with belly dance because there are so many combination of movements so you can keep changing it up.”
Exotic dancing will give you a workout,said producer Leah Stauffer. The next day you will feel the effects of hip rolls and floor work.
Stauffer produced The Art of Exotic Dancing for Everyday Women video on the “taboo topic” after hosting sold out “striptease therapy” workshops at The Learning Studio,a community center in Malvern,Pa.,in 1998.
Stauffer said when the first class was offered,everyone involved was worried about controversy surrounding exotic dancing would stop it before it began.
“For women,being sensual and feeling sexy is so covered up in this society,but it's really right below the surface – which is why it's not that hard to bring out of someone,” Stauffer said.
Stauffer's fear of controversy vanished when housewives,mothers,young women and grandmothers turned out in droves. Most of the women in the original Philadelphia class Stauffer taught have become exotic dance instructors themselves.
“It really has nothing to do with exotic dancing at all,it's just a tool,a way to reach women,” she said. “It's about confidence and expressing your own power in safe,healthy ways.”
The videos and classes have become so popular that Stauffer plans to launch courses in Los Angeles,San Diego,Dallas and London as early as this summer. Philadelphia Films will also release two more exotic dancing videos and a CD.
“If you have confidence,you can be better in everything,” Stauffer said. “Sure of yourself in a business meeting or eating alone in a restaurant without feeling self-conscious. And that's what it's really all about.”
To find out more information about Bellydance Fitness for Weight Loss and Hula Workout visit the Natural Journeys Web site at www.naturaljourneys.com. To learn more about The Art of Exotic Dancing for Everyday Women from Philadelphia Films visit www.artofexoticdancing.com.