It’s no secret that exercise can be difficult. Maintaining a routine, settling on something that interests you, and finding the time, the money, the gear – whatever the obstacle, there always seems to be a reason to skip it or start again tomorrow.
For me, running had always been the exercise I was drawn to, but as you may have read in a previous blog post, sometimes even the best-laid plans can have unexpected turns.
So, my intention for this post is to provide you with 10 unique ways to stay fit in the Capital Region. I know what you’re thinking and yes, I actually went to 10 different off-the-beaten-path exercise classes to help you, my most loyal readers, get a jumpstart on your new fitness routine. But first, I want to give a quick shout-out to all my friends and co-workers I dragged with me so I would not have to figure this out solo. OK, here we go.
I dragged my boyfriend (bless his little heart) to a 50-minute Essentrics class at Albany Dance & Fitness, where we met Gail, a wonderfully welcoming and calming woman who taught us ballet and tai chi moves all rolled into one. Though small and isolated, the movements were repeated a number of times and were not easy. The tai chi moves were soothing and slow and felt like yoga poses with more arm action. There were only three of us in the class, which meant we got Gail’s undivided attention. Albany Dance & Fitness does not sell memberships but offers a number of different classes for $10 each. You can come and go as you please, an ideal option for someone with a busy and unpredictable schedule. This class is suitable for all fitness levels.
Level of Difficulty: You will get out of it what you put in. The slower, more isolated movements are tough, but I felt great at the end!
1197 Central Ave., Albany
You may have heard of Focusmaster, the winner of Jillian Michael’s Sweat Inc. television series. This 30-minute group exercise class combines punching, kicking, and isolated exercises such as burpees, sit-ups, high knees, and more. The workout experience is unique in the sense that you are in a dimly lit room with five to 15 other people but are exercising at your own pace. No one is watching you, which allows you to go as hard or as slow as you like. One of the best aspects of this class is the coaches. They are talking to you and your classmates throughout the entire workout, counting down time on a particular move, chanting your name, and cheering you on. This, coupled with the big countdown clock that shows how many seconds you have left on a particular machine or move, was extremely motivating and encouraged me to keep going. This fast-paced class flies by and concludes with everyone placing their hands in the middle and chanting, “fight for it!” Focusmaster has two studio locations in Troy and Latham and you can purchase a membership or take a single class for $15.
Level of Difficulty: With the freedom to work out at your own pace, this class is suitable for just about anyone. The fast pace does add to the intensity of the workout.
Bonus: Visit Focusmaster’s website and get a free two-week trial!
Latham Studio: 265 Osborne Road, Loudonville
Troy Studio: 828 Hoosick St., Troy
Balletone wasn’t as intimidating as perhaps some of the other classes, mostly because it was me and about 20 women who ranged in age from 65 to 85. They were a kind and welcoming group, calling me honey and fretting when I left my cell phone on the floor. However, when it came to this challenging class, they did not lack skill or stability. The name pretty much describes exactly what you will be doing – toning your body using ballet moves. The majority of the class focused on arms and thighs, while the slow movements challenged your strength. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Gail, who taught my boyfriend (remember, bless his heart) and me at Albany Dance & Fitness, was also an instructor. Given the slower pace, I recommend combining this class with some kind of cardio to maximize your workout.
Level of Difficulty: This slow-paced class challenged my muscles.
Bonus: The facilities at the Ciccotti Center are top-notch. Membership includes access to the locker rooms, all classes, a full gym, track, pool, and mini water park!
30 Aviation Road, Albany
I have to say that starting my day outside by the river for more than 200 other people doing yoga in the sunshine was so wonderful that I cannot wait to do it again next weekend. The weather, the people, the teacher, the energy – it was so great! An instructor who also teaches at Heart Space Yoga in Troy taught the class and he was awesome. He totally commanded the class and made it fun, entertaining, light hearted, soothing, and achievable for any fitness level. The park was filled with men, women, and children of all ages and skill levels. Just a group of people hoping to get some sun, free their minds of any clutter, get in a good stretch, and strike a yoga pose or two. I highly recommend fitting this free fitness activity into your busy weekend schedule. Join us in June 2017 for CDPHP Yoga in the Park. Get fit with your neighbors while basking in the sunshine and enjoying a view of the river! Ommmmm!
Level of Difficulty: With many movement variations, you can go at your own pace.
Bonus: It’s FREE!
251 River St., Troy
A great activity for a first date, group of girlfriends, family time, or self-discovery, I enjoyed my geocaching experience with all its twists and turns. Download the free geocaching app to get a quick tutorial on how this fun interactive treasure hunt works and be sure to check back in a couple of weeks and read my blog post!
Level of Difficulty: Depends on the search. Choose your own!
Bonus: This free activity can include everyone in your family – even your dog!
A Learning Experience My reason for writing this post was to provide information on different ways to stay fit, but I ended up learning so much more in the process. Exercise is personal no matter who you are. I realized that all these instructors had their own stories and experiences that got them to where they are in their fitness journey. It was inspiring to see that everyone has challenges, time conflicts, self-esteem struggles, body image issues, etc., and yet they show up, remain present, and give it their all.
Go on and try something new for your health. You never know where it may lead you.
In her role as Director of Community Relations & Corporate Events, Victoria will be responsible for the coordination and execution of CDPHP’s philanthropic efforts as well as being a community liaison for the organization. Additionally Victoria will provide support for CDPHP special events including the Workforce Challenge, Charity of Choice Fundraising events and more. Victoria has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Russell Sage College and a Master of Science in Organizational Management from The Sage Colleges. She is a 2012 graduate of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership and has volunteered her time with The American Heart Association, The Palace, The Commission On Economic Opportunity (CEO), Trinity Alliance, Capital Roots, Unity House and more. Recently, along with two associates Victoria started a Learn to Golf Group for women looking to learn golf for the purposes of business. In her spare time Victoria enjoys running, playing golf and spending time with her two daughters, Eleanor and Charlotte.