Go Red for Women: Nia class - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Go Red for Women: Nia class

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MADISON (WKOW) -- One in three adult women will suffer from heart disease in her life, it's a startling statistic that 14 women are trying to change.

27 News' Diana Henry, Elishah Oesch and Jamie Hersch are three of those women taking part in the "Go Red Girlfriends Challenge" through the American Heart Association.

It's a 12-week challenge to improve their own heart health and help raise awareness about heart disease. A critical component to keeping your heart healthy is exercise.

On Saturday, the women took part in a different kind of workout: Nia. It's an exercise for mind, body and spirit.

"It's an intense workout, it actually is! But fun, too. I had a good time," said Oesch.

A fusion of dance and martial arts, Nia was surprisingly a good workout, and all the women worked up quite a sweat.

"Some of these old bones haven't moved in a while!" laughed Pat Swartout, one of the Girlfriends Challenge participants.

Mona Melms owns and operates Melt Studio in downtown Madison, where she also works as a Nia instructor.

"When people first approach Nia, they come because they love to dance, but by the end they're exhausted. Every muscle group, every part of their body, core work, back work, movement, agility work... It's really a workout!" said Melms.

It's a chance to be silly, to let loose and shake it all out in a safe environment where everyone is a beginner.

"I think whenever there's a new experience, people open up in a different way and are accepting in a different way because you need to be accepted in a different way," said Oesch.

"I think it's just the camaraderie of it all. Nobody's perfect at it and it isn't a perfect thing; it's your own thing," said Swartout.

"I would say the core workout was really fun. I really discovered Ihave no core and it's something I eed to work on," said Barb Meister, one of Pat's teammates.

"What Nia really believes is at some point in our life of aging, we stop moving like a child. And a child's movement is full of joy, and adults are very restrained and that's perhaps what leads to movement pattern difficulties. Nia says just open your body again, move all your joints and you'll be joyful!" said Melms.

The main goal with this whole challenge is to maintain healthy exercise and eating habits. So often people make these kinds of New Year's resolutions and run into a road block after a few weeks. That's why classes like Nia or Zumba are so great because they're a fun alternative to just running on a treadmill or lifting weights.

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