Cool ways to keep fit

The Jewish Chronicle - - JC SPECIAL - BY BIL­LIE JOSEPHS

OME SEVEN mil­lion peo­ple are es­ti­mated to work-out reg­u­larly at gyms across the UK, with three quar­ters of them turn­ing up at least twice a week dur­ing the sum­mer.

Of course it is a cool thing to do at this time of the year, when many of us are cast­ing anx­ious glances at our em­bar­rass­ing paunches as we pre­pare to dis­robe on the beach or at the lo­cal pool.

Sign­ing up with the lo­cal gym in a bid to at­tain the body beau­ti­ful can be daunt­ing. Pump­ing iron and in­dulging in other ex­treme forms of ex­er­cise can re­sult in sore, aching mus­cles which is why many gyms are in­vest­ing in a plethora of “al­ter­na­tive” cour­ses de­signed not to over stress bod­ies un­ac­cus­tomed to stren­u­ous ex­er­cise. Classes such as “back-to-ba­sics” ses­sions are de­signed for those not in the first flush of youth who re­quire a gen­tle in­tro­duc­tion to keep fit.

Some es­tab­lish­ments also pro­vide “sooth­ing ser­vices” such as beauty sa­lons (for men as well) and lux­u­ri­ous spas. One such com­pany, ded­i­cated to help­ing its clients shed ex­tra pounds and look great in the process, is the Lab­o­ra­tory which has clubs in Hen­don and Muswell Hill. Apart from reg­u­lar equip­ment such as tread mills and ex­er­cise ma­chines de­signed to get you trim and fit, it also of­fers yoga classes and acupunc­ture and a va­ri­ety of what it de­scribes as “mind and body” cour­ses.

An­other of the coun­try’s big­gest gym es­tab­lish­ments, Vir­gin Ac­tive, has branches all over the coun­try, in­clud­ing Hen­don, Mill Hill, Chig­well, Bore­ham­wood and Crick­le­wood, and tells its clients that healthy liv­ing is “more than just ex­er­cise”. It in­volves, it says, feel­ing “com­fort­able in your own skin, a healthy at­ti­tude to­wards food and, of course, a healthy dose of fun”.

Vir­gin gyms fea­ture many ways to get you fit in­clud­ing state-of-the-art car­dio­vas­cu­lar equip­ment, ton­ing cir­cuits, swim­ming pools, in­door cy­cling stu­dios and aer­o­bic fa­cil­i­ties.

Gym fees tend to be expensive, al­though lo­cal authority backed es­tab­lish­ments such as The Venue in Bore­ham­wood and Copthall in Mill Hill try to keep costs to a min­i­mum, of­fer­ing a full range of gym and swim­ming fa­cil­i­ties at af­ford­able prices.

So there is no need to shell out large amounts of money. In fact, says the NHS “you can be fit­ter with­out spend­ing a penny”. It rec­om­mends a range of com­mon-sense steps to­wards be­com­ing fit. Ditch­ing the car and walk­ing, or cy­cling in­stead, sim­ple home ex­er­cises are also among ac­tiv­i­ties sug­gested.

It also rec­om­mends mall walk­ing, which is a brisk walk through shop­ping cen­tres (Brent Cross would be per­fect) us­ing the stairs rather than lifts or es­ca­la­tors. A craze that is sweep­ing Amer­ica, it is now catch­ing on here, and is aimed at peo­ple who don’t nor­mally walk very much but who want to im­prove their fit­ness while tak­ing an op­por­tu­nity to ex­er­cise, so­cialise and shop.

There is no need to shell out large amounts of money

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