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Get Out of the Exercise Rut With The "Nia" Technique


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(NBC News) - If you're in an exercise rut, maybe it's time to try something different.

Maybe the "Nia" technique can work for you. It's sort of like a dance-aerobics class, but with a few surprises.

This is not your mother's aerobics class... This is Nia.

Call it fusion fitness: Part dance, part martial arts, part yoga.

If you ask David Gaskin, its the escape from the treadmill he was searching for.

David Gaskin, Nia Participant: "I joined the gym a year and a half ago and had hired a trainer to set me up with a routine. And I was doing the treadmill and lifting weights and I hated, just hated it. Finally one day I was talking to a trainer and told him this is not working for me and he said why don't you try Nia. And so I did and I loved it."

Students say it beats the monotony of traditional exercise. The music always changes and so do the movements.

There's even a chance to dance to the beat of your inner drummer... But don't confuse free expression with a free ride. This is a full body workout.

Monica Welty, Nia Instructor: "A lot of people see the free movement and think, 'Oh look at them they are flowing around,' and it's just kind of, woof, you know? And there is so much to Nia that is very cardiovascular."

Just ask Cheryl Wilson, who thanks Nia for her new figure.

Cheryl Wilson, Nia Participant: "I've gone from size 12 pant to a size eight and I've lost 20 pounds"

There are other benefits: improved flexibility, muscle strength and tone.

The motto is no pain, all gain. Instructor Monica Welty reminds students to listen to their bodies... And don't feel compelled to do exactly what she's doing if it's uncomfortable.

For a Nia novice like Leilani Lee, its a welcome change from the pressure to perform she's felt during traditional aerobics classes.

Leilani Lee, Nia Participant: "I think it did decrease my stress level just because I didn't feel so self conscious."

So without the wear and tear of high impact aerobics, these students are working on both their inner and outer strength.

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