Prancercising is amusing, but is it a good workout?
Published Monday, June 3, 2013 11:31AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 3, 2013 11:48AM EDT
Fitness trends come and go, and perhaps “Prancercising” will soon join jazzercise, sauna belts and the Thighmaster on the fitness-flop trash heap. But for now, the Internet's newest exercise sensation is having its moment.
Prancercise, if you haven’t heard, is “a springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse’s gait and is ideally induced by elation.”
It’s became the buzz of the Internet, thanks to a demonstration video uploaded on YouTube a few months back that suddenly went viral last week. An accompanying book that’s earning hundreds of satirical reviews on Amazon.com has also helped.
The clip shows 61-year-old Prancercise inventor Joanna Rohrback -- bejewelled, in leggings and a salmon-coloured, Chanel-styled jacket -- trotting along a path, kicking up her heels, windmilling her arms, and enthusiastically exhorting viewers to join in.
The workout includes the trot (“It’s really hot,” Rohrback says); the gallop, (“We’re gonna really cut the noose and let it loose, with the Prancercise gallop”); and the easier walk (“Let's stop talking and do some walking!”). There’s also the shadowbox prance, in which Rohrback offers this helpful tip: “It’s better to be punching into space than in your face.”
Of course, the sudden popularity of the workout might have much to do with the video’s comedic value. But are there are any fitness benefits to Prancercising? Can you get a good workout from it?
Canada AM’s fitness expert Libby Norris says not likely. On the other hand, she says, any form of exercise is better than no exercise at all.
“At least they're getting off the couch,” she says of Prancercise neophytes.
Norris adds there’s nothing wrong with taking the self-consciousness out of workouts and having fun while exercising. But she does worry that Prancercising requires the use of ankle and wrist weights. Norris says fitness professionals have long considered those tools a big no-no, since they risk injury while offering no benefit.
"When you put that weight at the end of a joint, all you're creating is momentum; it doesn't really challenge your muscles more. But what it does do is add stress on the joints,” she says.
"So stay away from ankle weights and wrist weights."
Norris says if you want to challenge yourself with weights, a better alternative would be to wear a weighted vest or a weighted belt or backpack while exercising, which keep the weight close to the core, and reduce the risk for injury.
Those who are serious about trying Prancercising should head to the Prancercise.com website, Norris says, as they can sign up for a membership and find other Prancercisers in their areas.