Try something new - Bokwa
Bokwa - its a new dance fitness workout that's dividing fitness fanatics across the globe - either you're the kind of person who likes dance workouts, or you're not, it's that simple. If the idea of a dance class fills you with dread, Bokwa probably isn't going to be for you, but if you're into the idea of a-workout-that-doesn't-feel-like-a-workout then why not give it a try? Currently making waves in the UK (and the USA), we thought we'd give Bokwa a go to see what the hype is about for ourselves. Bokwa is great for all ages and fitness levels, as long as you're prepared to learn and have fun!
A blend of step aerobics and hip-hop infused with South African dance moves (sounds complicated!) Bokwa is actually pretty simple to learn - if traditional choreography is hard for you, you'll be surprised at how fast you pick this up. Each step is based on a letter or number rather than complex choreography, so it's easy - you just make your movements in the shape of specific letters, as guided by your instructor. Moves are basic, which allows you to freestyle and customise your moves for a high energy workout or a low impact one which will gently tone your whole body.
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Bokwa is the brainchild of Paul Mavi, a fitness instructor from LA and Johann Verheem, a fitness entrepreneur. They launched their dance concept in the UK in 2012 and to date there are more than 4,000 qualified, certified instructors across the country. But where does the name 'Bokwa' actually come from? It's a hybrid of 'bo' (boxing) and 'kwa' (kwaito), an Afrikaans word referring to a specific style of South African music and dance.
What to expect
If you're wondering what to expect at a Bokwa class, it's pretty simple - the latest tunes, plenty of high energy and super-fit instructors - it's not unlike Zumba. In our class, most participants were female, with the majority in their 30s or older, but depending on your location, there could be a good mix; Bokwa doesn't discriminate! Sessions are usually an hour long and whilst Bokwa is often billed as a Zumba alternative, it's actually a far more in-depth experience - your instructor will take the time to explain every movement before the workout begins. It's a workout for your brain as much as it is for your body! We enjoyed a 60-minute session in South-East London (Bromley), but there are classes running across London and throughout the UK, which are usually reasonably priced.
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Who's it for?
You'll need to be mobile in order to take part in Bokwa, so if you're recovering from an injury, it's probably not the best choice for you. With that said, many Bokwa addicts are middle-aged or older, so it is a dance class that's suitable for all ages, as you can vary the intensity of your moves to suit your fitness level and flexibility. If you're new to fitness, you can start slowly - adding to your moves and freestylin' is optional but recommended once you improve.
What equipment is needed?
A decent pair of trainers and clothes you can move in, such as leggings and a t-shirt or vest, are all you'll need to join a Bokwa class - no need to invest in specialist equipment or kit. Many gyms across the UK run Bokwa classes, so you could make the most of your gym membership and make sure you keep your new year's gym resolution; we know how hard it can be to motivate yourself in January!
Is Bokwa a good workout?
If you love dancing, then yes, definitely! After our hour long session, it's safe to say we were mentally and physically exhausted; you'll find it a real challenge if you put in the hard work. Bokwa can help you to:
- Learn dance moves without the need for complex choreography
- Tone your legs, bum and upper body
- Boost your mood by getting those endorphins flowing
- Get a good cardio workout
- Meet new people and have fun!
Dance classes are a great way to begin exercising if you're new to fitness, and because they don't feel like exercise to many people, they're also the perfect way to improve your fitness levels without having to join the gym. Bokwa classes tend to have a fairly social, high-energy atmosphere, depending on the size of the class, so it's a good way to meet new people and you may even find a fitness buddy to hit the gym with!
Where to get more info
The Bokwa Fitness website is the best place to find out more about this craze. You can watch videos to see what it's all about, find a class, shop for Bokwa gear or even train to become an instructor. With classes running across the UK, there's sure to be one near you!
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