New York is the city that never sleeps, but that’s not a very healthy lifestyle. SoHo trainer Harry Hanson is here to help, though, creating a class that allows you to clock in both exercise and catching up on some z’s at the same time — napercise.
Yes, you read that right: a fitness class centered around napping. Hanson Fitness, the same gym that debuted naked workouts back in January and boasts celebrity clientele like Sandra Bullock and Naomi Campbell, is offering the one-hour class at its SoHo location at 42 Wooster Street.
“If you go into a deep REM for even 20 minutes, it really helps your body recover faster, refreshens your brain and helps you be more productive,” said Hanson, owner of Hanson Fitness and a personal trainer for 32 years.
Hanson's idea for a napercise class partly came from his propensity for power naps. He used to take lots of them, There were times he'd pay to go to a movie, just to crash out for 20 minutes. "It worked on me, and that’s my main inspiration,” he said.
What is a napercise class?
This class involves more than just crashing out on your couch for half an hour. Here’s how the napercise class runs: Clients will wear something comfortable and come in to a cool room set at 65 degrees — the optimal temperature sleep experts recommend, and which also promotes calorie burning, Hanson said.
Mats will be laid out on the floor and trainers will stretch the attendees out to help them relax and loosen up their limbs.
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“The focus is 100 percent relaxation,” Hanson said. “While being stretched, you’re completely unwinding. It’s taking away all the stress of the body.”
Then, the trainers will put on “spa-like” relaxing music and turn off the lights. “It’ll almost feel like going into a meditative state,” Hanson said. Clients go to sleep for 45 minutes, then get stretched out again and go on with their day.
Harry Hanson. Photo: Provided
“Our aim with napercise is to increase alertness, remove feelings of anxiety and stress and encourage a better mood,” Hanson said. Experts have also said napping helps balance hormones affected by a night of poor sleep, improves cognitive function along with other healthy benefits.
A different napercise class did premier in the U.K. last year, and that also helped inspire Hanson.
“There are so many different ways to train today, I want to stay on the forefront of that,” he said. And since people tend to do different types of workouts in one week, whether spin or pilates or running, he thinks his napercise class can fit into that lifestyle, giving people a chance to let their bodies recover.
Hanson's next napercise class is June 22, with classes occurring every two weeks. Classes will be restricted to eight to 10 people at first, Hanson said, so that everyone's not too crowded. The cost is $40, and you can sign up by contacting Hanson Fitness online at hansonfitness.com/soho.