Making moves at the barre

Making moves at the barre

There’s a new fitness trend in town, and it takes place at the barre — the ballet barre, that is. Barre classes are a popular workout blending moves from Pilates, yoga and ballet. The name refers to the French word for the railing found in ballet studios.

The fitness classes are often offered at gyms, and barre studios such as Pure Barre, Xtend Barre, and Barre3 are popping up in neighborhoods across the country.

Why are people dancing their way into barre classes? Barre classes are a low-impact workout that rely on your body’s own weight to create resistance. Strength and flexibility improve by focusing on a high number of repetitions and small movements, targeting muscles in the abs, arms, glutes and legs. Barre studios claim to help you sculpt a dancer’s lean physique, but fitness experts say the workout doesn’t burn large numbers of calories or rev up the metabolism.

Who should spend time at the barre? It’s suitable for men and women, and pregnant women can enjoy the classes because they build strength without unnecessary stress on the body. Barre is an ideal exercise for fitness beginners and, because it’s gentle on the joints, good for people with arthritis or joint problems. Many of the exercises are done while standing, so people with foot or knee problems should speak with a physical therapist or physician before making barre part of their exercise routine.

Barre classes are a fun way to build strength and flexibility and learn new exercise moves. All you need are yoga pants or leggings, a comfortable shirt and socks. No prior ballet experience required.

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