I’m not entirely sure what to expect from a Kangoo Jumps Power class. Sessions are offered at Kangoo Club DXB in JLT and Mirdif, however, I’ve been invited to try out my session while in Doha, at Anytime Fitness gym. A quick Google search 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 met by Claudia, Anytime Fitness’ 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 babbles 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 Kangoos 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 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 amid 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.
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. Kangoo Jump classes are available at Kangoo Club DXB from Dhs150 per class (including boots). Cluster T, JLT; Dubai Tennis Academy, Mirdif, www.kangooclubdxb.com (056 259 7981).
Four to try Alternative exercises Belly dancing 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. Dhs75 per class. Mantra Fitness Club, Ontario Tower, Business Bay, www.mantrafitnessclub.com.
Sh'bam Increase your flexibility and sense of balance with this light-hearted cardiovascular, dance-based workout, typically done to pop music and chart hits. First class free, membership packages available. Ladies only. Vivafit, i-Rise Building, Barsha Heights, www.vivafit.ae (04 421 3762).
Tai chi UAE Tai Chi is run by Masters Hang and Gang, Chinese Martial Art International 6th and 5th Dan Black Belts respectively. Master the art of the movements and focus on connecting you mind, body and spirit. From Dhs1,200 (three months, once a week). Icon Tower, Barsha Heights, www.uaetaichi.com.
Ultimate frisbee This non-contact team sport mixes elements of football, basketball, American football and netball. United Arabian Ultimate runs local and international tournaments and championships for those who want to take their skills from beach to pitch. Dhs100 (annual membership). www.unitedarabianultimate.com.Kangoo Jumps