I’m not entirely sure what to expect from a Kangoo Jumps Power class. I’d been invited to try it out, and a quick Google shows me that Kangoo Jumps are rebound shoes used for reducing the impact of various exercises (such as running) to the joints. The shoes, which are more like boots, have an elliptical shaped, springy, hollow platform underneath. (I’m struggling to describe them here... I recommend you just look at the photos.) .
I’m met by Claudia, the gym’s marketing manager, who is so enthused by Kangoo Jumps that she already has the shoes on when I arrive. As she shows me to the locker room, she bubbles about how she was hooked after her first class and bought herself a pair. I’m still sceptical at this stage, she’s the marketing manager after all. But her scooting about in her own pair of pink and white Kangoo shoes does suggest a genuine enthusiasm that’s infectious.
I was picturing myself as an ungainly, un-coordinated human Tigger, ricocheting off walls in my attempts to negotiate the bouncy boots, but they aren’t anywhere near springy enough for this to be the case, and they're actually fairly easy to get the hang of. Instructor Georgiana gathers us around to demonstrate proper posture (knees bent, behind out) and warns us to keep an eye on our foot placement to avoid tripping over our feet and falling. Then, the class begins with a bright smile from Georgiana. “Let’s get ready to sweat a lot,” she announces. Yay.
It starts out mildly. A bit of marching on the spot. A bit of arm work. I feel encouraged. I seem to be neither unfit nor finding the shoes difficult so I get into things with a bit more vigour. Things pick up when jumping jacks are introduced and I start to feel my heart rate rise. Significantly.
We begin to go through a routine with repeated movements and the faster it gets the less I manage to keep up. I’m sweating buckets at this stage, and my jumping jacks are getting feebler by the second.
Georgiana is still smiling and her moves are graceful and ballet-like. I try to imitate her poise and grace without success. I’m less prima ballerina, more Elmo on a pogo stick. I’m also no longer in time to the music and my jumping bears almost no resemblance to everyone else’s. So much so that Georgiana comes over to hold my hands and give me a bit of one-on-one coaching.
Around the halfway point we take a three-minute break. Thankfully, I’m not the only one who needs it. I realise at this stage how heavy the boots are, an unexpected additional workout element. The reduced impact, though, is tangible and I have no discomfort in my knees, which I tend to get when attempting amateur HIIT routines amidst piles of laundry in my room.
In what feels like five seconds, we’re being whipped into action again. If my jumping jacks were feeble before, they are now bordering on non-existent as I struggle to keep my feet moving. Unable to locate a clock on the wall, I frantically mouth, “How much longer?!” to our photographer, Valantis. He’s clearly amused by my discomfort – all I get is a grin and then we carry on.
I struggle to maintain my balance through the squats, but ten minutes later it’s all over. My legs feel like jelly and without the boots I feel like a lead weight stomping around.
Now, I know I’ve made this workout class sound inordinately difficult, and I wish it wasn’t just because I’m unfit. I actually enjoyed the class (honest!). Plus, a workout should be hard if you want to get anything out of it. In this case, what you’ll get is a full-body cardio workout that strengthens your core and does what it says on the tin: reduces the impact on your joints.
But my favourite thing about it? The sheer novelty of rebound shoes. If you ignore the fact that you most probably look ridiculous, this is likely to be one of the most enjoyable classes you’ll try. Whatever your level, this is one exercise bandwagon worth jumping on.
Dhs50 per class. Inspire Sports Management www.inspiresports.ae (050 157 5508).
Four to try Alternative exercises
A great way to tone up, these classes are geared to challenge bodies of any age, gender or fitness level. The class is low-impact and a great cardiovascular workout that helps to strengthen muscles, especially the back and abs.
Dhs70 per class, Dhs640 (ten classes). Body Tree Studio, Sheikh Hazaa Bin Zayed St (02 443 4448).
A lively African-inspired aerobic dance class during which you write the alphabet and numbers with your body. The class was developed by Paul Mavi, a fitness instructor based in Los Angeles, who tapped into his South African roots by training as a dancer and musician.
Dhs60. Eastern Mangroves Resort and Spa, Eastern Ring Road (02 656 1000).
This non-contact team sport mixes elements of football, basketball, American football and netball. The Abu Dhabi Ultimate Association runs tournaments and practice sessions for all those who want to take their skills from the beach to the pitch.
Abu Dhabi Tai Chi Society runs two classes a week under the tutelage of Sifu Alexander, who will teach the art of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing.
Free. Sun and Wed. Opposite Alain Palace Hotel, www.facebook.com/groups/abudhabi.taichi.