Liz O’Reilly tried out the latest fitness craze gripping Bahrain
So, according to NASA, rebound exercise is ‘the most efficient and effective exercise ever devised by man’ and, according to the lovely Alina Comanici, CEO of Kangoo Jumps in Bahrain, half an hour in these low impact rebound sport shoes is equivalent to 60 minutes in regular trainers.
So, with that in mind and the promise that an hour’s Kangoo class can burn up to 600 calories, I headed off to the K Hotel to try out a method of exercise that looks a bit like trying to do aerobics on a Pogo Stick. I strapped on the boots with some trepidation, it’s like walking on a spring and they make you a good 20cm taller which feels like an awfully long way to fall.
But everyone else seemed to be managing to stay upright so I figured it couldn’t be that hard and, with a gentle tug from Alina, I was soon on my feet and bouncing gently to hold my balance.
We led in with a few gentle dance-type steps and, again, I could feel myself getting ready for a tumble. But it really is quite amazing the way your core muscles take over keeping you stable – this is where a major part of the workout comes in, not only are your joints protected by the springs in the boots but your core is constantly on duty for balance.
With the music amped up the dance moves got more complicated incorporating some proper jumps – and, just in case you should decide to give it a try, timid is not the answer. Pick those feet up in the air and slam them down, it’s the best way to get and keep your balance.
I’m not that great at balancing on one leg even without a 1.5kg spring-loaded boot on each foot but, incredibly, it actually proved easier – perhaps the core workout was already having visible benefits.
And all this while having really good fun? I should have known it was too good to be true!
The first half of the class is all about motion and getting the heart rate pounding, which it certainly achieved, but then it’s on to the dreaded floor exercises.
And before you ask what good are floor exercises when the boots are all about bouncing? You try lying on your back doing abdominal crunches with your legs stretched out just inches from the floor while wearing a pair of unwieldy boots weighing more than 3kg – need I say more?
Yep, Alina might look like the friendly, fun dance teacher but she’s a really hard taskmaster – she clearly loves her sport and wants everyone to get the most out of it which means no talking and giggling, even when you think you’re going to knock yourself out trying to get the boots over your head!
And if all that sounds horrific, I can honestly say that the whole principle of rebound exercise works. After an hour I felt I’d had a really good workout yet the following day I experienced barely a twinge.
In fact I had a brilliant time – so much so that I’m going back this week (I’m just glad no-one else could see my fledgling efforts).
Sessions are currently on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at the K Hotel Juffair, 6-7pm (ladies only) and 7.30-8.30pm (mixed).
There are also Friday and Saturday outdoor classes, weather permitting, and Alina is planning to set up a new group on Amwaj. Call 33 011 770 for reservations.
5 other off-the-wall ways to get fit
Tribal Fitness Born here in Bahrain, it’s exercise without the gym. Think running, jumping, throwing with rocks as weights, sparring, chucking spears and climbing trees. Fitness goes back to nature. Check it out at www.tribalfitness.com.
Hot Yoga Also known as Bikram yoga, this is a series of yoga poses carried out for 90 minutes in a room heated to around 40-degrees and at humidity of 40 per cent. It sounds hideous but is famed for quick and very effective body sculpting. Available at World Beat Fitness Centre. Call (17 612 576).
Masala Bhangra Started in 1999 by fitness guru Sarina Jain, this class is a combination of two Hindi words, masala, meaning spicy, and bhangra, a traditional folk dance. We tried it out with visions of the station scene of Jai Ho, to be honest it was more ‘oh no’ as we tried to keep up but a great fun way to work up a sweat. Available at Dessange, Call 17 713 999.
Kitesurfing For a full-body work out that, according to one of our recent articles, allows you to ‘jump as high as a kite and land as soft as a feather’ it doesn’t get much better than kitesurfing but, be warned, this sport’s not cheap. Call Skate Shack (17 697 176).
Vibram Five Fingers shoes These shoes might look kinda weird and funky but, when you look at it logically, they make perfect sense. They’re the ultimate fitness shoes that give the feeling of running or working-out in bare feet with all the added benefits.They’re available at Athlete’s Foot in City Centre. Call 17 179 263.