Cool ways to keep fit
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