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HOUSTON -- Working out can be a chore, but what if it could be just plain fun?

There s a cardio workout class in the Heights that promises to bring out your inner dancer.

It s called Nia, and the practice is catching on around the world.

It s a mind/body program, but it actually has an aerobic component and also a fun component so it really is serious stuff, said Nia instructor Helen Terry. It works great for women who are looking for a fitness program that they are going to be able to stick with.

Terry teaches at the Nia Moves studio in the 500 block of Pecore St. She says for the hour-long class, you re barefoot.

You get to kick your shoes off. There are over 7,000 nerve endings in just one foot so you can be working out without your shoes on and you re actually receiving a lot more information and it s great for your body as well as your feet, she said.

The practice combines martial, dance and healing arts. It promotes camaraderie and is said to boost the spirit.

I came here for wellness purposes not really knowing what it was and I m one of those people with a heart condition who really needs to have active cardio, but I wanted variety and in Nia you can do dance, do Pilates and have Tai chi and martial arts, said Nia student Eileen Reed.

Virginia Baker, 70, has been taking classes for three years. With the help of a new diet and the classes, she s lost 20 pounds -- and she plans to lose another 20.

I love to dance so this is the only exercise I can do so that I can dance and as you get older your flexibility and balance is the most important and I think this exercise does this for you, said Baker.

At Nia Moves, there are Nia classes throughout the day. A single class costs $15, but you can get a deal if you buy a package.

For more information you can check out the website.

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