Body & Fitness

Could this space-age exercise trend change the world?

The Anything But The Gym Girls' are on the hunt for fun fitness alternatives for those people who don't like the gym. This week, Emma tries out a favourite of the Kardashian clan.

If everyone in the world did 30 minutes of Kangoo jumping a day, there would be no wars. Partly because it is pure, unadulterated fun and partly because it takes all your concentration not to tip onto your face.

Kangoo jumps look like a space age rollerblade, with a bouncy plastic oval instead of wheels. The first challenge is getting up from the ground while wearing them – it essentially feels you have two small Swiss balls strapped to your feet, that’s how wobbly they feel.

You have to crawl onto all fours, put one foot on the ground – careful, careful – and then launch yourself up and onto a kind helper who stands next to you.

In Sinead’s and my case, that kind helper is Lindsay – our new friend who has been attending the North Shore class for five months. Like a Kangoo guardian angel, she helps us straps us on our boots, wobble up to a standing position and gives us the most useful piece of advice: standing still is the hardest part, so always keep moving.

This is the Kangoo key: once you start jogging, you’re away laughing. It’s as soon as you start slowing down you lose your balance. For this reason, I position myself near the large padded pole in the class – so I will have something to lunge at if I start tipping over.

Our teacher, Cristian, is a beautiful man who has brought Kangoo Jumps over from Europe, where it is a massive fitness craze. He turns on the music and our first song is Dangerous, by Michael Jackson. As an almost six-foot tall female, strapped into bouncing boots that are causing me to immediately spring out of control, the lyrics ‘the girl is dangerous’ seem ominously prescient.

Basically, it’s an aerobics class, only you’re doing it on jumpy jumpy boots that challenge your core and add a whole lot of momentum to your actions. The base move is just to jog, which is all I do for the first 30 minutes as any attempts to follow the moves see me lurch forward towards my friend The Padded Pole (I knew I was right to stand by it).

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“Keep jogging!” Cristian cheers at me, every time I start to flail like one of those wacky inflatable tube men you see at car yards. Slowly my confidence grows and I start doing the moves, starting with the old faithful grapevine move and moving right up to jumping turns and more complicated footwork.

It is superb cardio workout – even if you can’t do any of the moves, you’re still jogging for an hour but the kangoo boots absorb so much of the impact it’s far easier on your joints.

The first 20 minutes are all Michael Jackson music, then Boney M, then hip hop, before a sassy cool down to The Pink Panther theme. It feels like an epic dance party – only with more bounce and I can’t wipe the smile off my face the entire time.

Verdict: Absolute terrific fun and a really great cardio workout. You’re doing moderate to high movement for an hour, but it’s so much fun – and so gentle on your joints – it doesn’t feel like it. Even with Sinead’s dodgy foot and my dodgy knee, we have no joint pain at all, making this a great option for older exercisers as well.

Where we went: AUT Millennium Gym, North Shore, Auckland

Where you can do it: Kangoo Jumps are only in Auckland at the moment but Cristian does a lot of one-off events. Follow him here

*Sinead and Emma are the Anything But The Gym girls. Bored with standard workouts, they have begun the hunt for new and fun ways to get fit. Follow their weekly adventures here, and in New Zealand Good Health Choices. If you have a suggestion for something interesting for them to try, email [email protected] with Anything But The Gym in the subject line.

The Anything But The Gym Girls are now on Instagram! Follow them @theanythingbutthegymgirls to keep up with their fitness adventures.*

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