If you enjoy dancing and music in your fitness routine but aren’t a fan of Zumba or Jazzercise, maybe Nia (pronounced “NEE-ah”) is the workout for you. The gentle mind-body movement classes combine dance moves with yoga moves and martial arts practices like tai chi.
The 60-minute aerobic workouts are non-impact—no jumping or sudden twisting and turning required! Plus, you don’t have to remember complex dance steps and the workouts can be adapted to your abilities.
Developed in the early 1980s, the name Nia originally meant “non-impact aerobics,” but its founders now describe the practice as “neuromuscular integrative action.” Nia’s easy-to-learn steps are performed barefoot to a soundtrack of upbeat music that includes pop, electronica, jazz, Latin, New Age and hip hop. Nia’s trio of movement styles help with different aspect of fitness: Controlled martial arts’ movements strengthen muscles; dance steps build cardiovascular health; and yoga techniques enhance flexibility and mindfulness.
As Nia grows in popularity, classes are popping up nationwide. It’s now taught by 2,500 certified instructors who achieve different colored belts as they complete higher evels of training. Watch routines and find classes near you at nianow.com.