Exercising Your Options

Five more unconventional ways to feel the burn.


1. Bhangra
Centuries before America discovered hip-hop, Punjabis half a world away were bumping to a bhangra beat. This high-energy folk dance from India and Pakistan boasts music so funky it’s made a fan of rapper Jay-Z. Think: Hip-hop meets cheerleading, by way of Jalandhar. Benefits: Like aerobics, bhangra works the cardio. Calories burned: 250–500 per hour. Details: $15 per class, Boston Bhangra, 617-448-2508, bostonbhangra.com.

2. Chaos Training
This high-buzz workout is billed as a scramble of sweat-inducing tasks based on—you got it—chaos theory. Equipment ranges from medicine balls to drinking straws and playing cards. Think: Marine boot camp meets MacGyver. Benefits: Muscle work, mental brawn. Calories burned: 600–900 per hour. Details: Equinox (membership), 131 Dartmouth St., Boston, 617-578-8918, equinoxfitness.com.

3. Cy-Yo
We’ve seen power yoga, hot yoga, and Yogalates, but…yoga on a bike? That’s the twist with Cy-Yo, which melds holistic elements such as yoga breathing and spirituality into an indoor cycling class. Think: Baptiste meets Armstrong. Benefits: Mind-body awareness, heart and leg strength. Calories burned: 800–1,000 per hour. Details: Wave Health and Fitness (membership), Seaport Hotel, Boston, 617-385-4540, seaportboston.com; for other classes, go to cy-yo.com.

4. Fencing
If pumping iron feels ho-hum, consider slinging steel instead: This deceptively graceful-looking sport offers an intense workout as students master the stance, attacks, and defense of classic sword fighting. Think: Swashbuckling meets ballet. Benefits: Leg strength, balance, reflexes. Calories burned: 300–500 per hour. Details: $165–$170 per two-month term for instructional classes, plus $50 annual fee, Boston Fencing Club, 110 Clematis Ave., Waltham, 781-891-0119, bostonfencingclub.org; for other fencing groups, go to neusfa.org.

5. Punk Rope
Hot on the heels of Punk Rock Aerobics comes this mix of rope jumping and conditioning drills set to music by the Queers, the Clash, and other highly motivational squallers. Think: Iggy Pop meets Rocky. Benefits: Stamina, balance, agility, overall badass quotient. Calories burned: 500–1,000 per hour. Details: Healthworks (membership), 920 Commonwealth Ave., Brookline, 617-731-3030; Porter Square Shopping Center, Cambridge, 617-497-4454; healthworksfitness.com.

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