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Dance, spin, cycle: Does your favorite fitness craze really work?

Zumba, cross training and spinning are all the rage, but are they going to work?

Vahdaneh Vahid

Published: Updated:

Today, we are heavily influenced by our largely sedentary lifestyles as we spend long hours slumped over a desk, driving a car, sitting on an airplane or watching TV after work. If we do end up exercising, we do so with bad posture and this can throw all the effort we put into working out down the drain.

As fitness trends ebb and flow, it is the job of a Master Integrated Movement Practitioner such as my self to assess whether these exercise crazes really work.

Zumba class
Zumba class

Zumba, cross training and spinning are all the rage, but do they work?

Today’s working culture puts a fair few of us under a great deal of stress. Draining our bodies with these harsh fitness trends, coupled with the high stress levels we are already under, is not going to produce any healthy results in the long run. That is unless we address the root cause of the problem first!

So, here are the three main reasons fitness trends simply do not work.

Con One: Bad posture

The importance of having a good posture may be acknowledged in the fitness world yet most are unaware of what a genuine efficient posture should look like.

The image demonstrates a typically deficient posture found in many people today.

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The colour red indicates all the muscles in our body that have become overactive and shortened. The blue areas indicate the muscles that are underactive and lengthened.

If you notice that one of the most important muscles being your core muscles that stabilizes the spine (lower abdominals) are highlighted in blue, lengthened muscles in the body are weak, which means they do not work well or on most people, they don’t work at all.

So when the muscles in our body are operating in this manner, we are only causing more imbalances, when we do undergo any type of fitness trend activities, building more tighter/ overactive muscles and further weakening the other muscles that should be working instead.

Con Two: Slowing down your metabolism

To meet the demands of our daily stress levels, our bodies release stress hormones such as Coristol under prolonged amounts of stress and then the body enters a state of breakdown referred to as a catabolic state.

woman eating
woman eating

Catabolic means to neurologically rope in the physiological “break down” of our muscles, tissue and bone. When this dysfunction is created, it limits the anabolic system of your physiology which is responsible for repairing and building our muscles and tissues.

Therefore, long periods of cardiovascular activity coupled with stress have the same negative effect on our bodies roping in further breakdown. So, it is very difficult for us to sustain a healthy metabolism this way - when we are burning our muscles and not our fat.

Con Three: Increases in injury rates and prolonged pain

Our bodies require our joints to be stacked accurately and when the correct muscles are recruited to support our body, it then becomes more structurally sound. Aligning our posture in the best possible way to reduce joint pain, as we are stacking our joints appropriately, will help.

Our shoulders should stack above our hips; our legs should then stack above our knees and then our knees over the ankles. If we aren’t not capable to joint stack correctly we would then encounter bends through the mid-section of our bodies, much like a leaning skyscraper.

Injured woman in gym
Injured woman in gym

So if the body is moving from a flimsy standing point, all the movements from there onwards will be also be flimsy. For example crossfit classes, indoor cycling and Zumba dance will, in my view, all have a jarring effect on the joints and ligaments. Due to poor muscle function accruing in our body, injury and prolonged pain will occur.

It is perhaps best to start your own fitness trend to launch yourself on the road to better health and wellbeing. It is necessary to do plenty of myofascia (soft tissue) therapy to break down those tight muscles, and work towards reducing your stress levels rather than elevating them.