The usual… but with a twist

A different take on aqua-aerobics, running, kettlebells and resistance training.

7.    Try aqua-jogging

Description: Try aqua-jogging

When an ankle injury put me out of action for a week or so, I was desperate to keep moving, so I hit the pool – minus flippers. Aqua-jogging is great for rehabilitation but also provides a good resistance workout (water is 800 times more dense than air). It’s become part of elite training programmes and even Olympic athletes champion it. But form is important – don’t run on your toes or shorten your stride. Try to complete the full range of motion you would complete on land.

8.    Barefoot or minimalist running

It’s the latest craze, and some experts contend that if you run without shoes you avoid the impact of heel-striking and develop a springier step. Science Daily reports that, although running shoes offer good support, there’s evidence to suggest they can contribute to more stress on the hips, knees and ankles.

Try Vibram FiveFingers – light-weight, thin-soled shoes – that give you the feeling of running barefoot while still offering some shod protection.

Vibram’s website suggests you do a two-week strength training programme to get your feet used to “barefoot” movement, which is a good idea. Ease into it, as with any new exercise. See theoriginalminimalistshoes.co.za for info.

9.    Get your technique right

Description: cardio and strength training workout

Kettlebells offer an intense cardio and strength training workout in one. Developed by Russian weightlifters, these “cannonballs with handles” take a little time to master, but Umhlanga-based trainer Sean Temple of Flux Motion says the sport of kettlebell lifting is exceptionally effective, “like manual labour for urban folk”.

You can incorporate them into your gym routine and do some traditional lifting. But the sport is actually technique-based, so it’s worth going to classes with accredited trainers to learn the proper techniques. See fluxmotion.net for info.

10.  Check your resistance

TRX suspension training has been at Virgin Active gyms for a while. Designed by a US Navy Seal who wanted his unit to stay in shape on board ship, TRX routines make effective use of hanging parachute straps: you perform some serious resistance training using your body weight against gravity. Minimal equipment, maximum sweat – and you can design your workouts to suit you.

How to exercise without knowing it

Another way to fall in love with movement again is to sneak it into your life without noticing it. If you’ve ever thrown Frisbee on the beach or played hopscotch with your niece, you’ll remember how much fun exercise can be.

11.  Be like Helen Mirren

We love Wii, because it turns TV time into something better than “lie back and pass the popcorn”. Now there’s the Wii Fit Plus – apparently actress Helen Mirren is a big fan. There are 15 new activities to try out, like rhythm kung fu, skateboarding and a Segway circuit. If you already have a profile on the original Wii Fit, you can transfer it to Wii Fit Plus. You can customize your workouts depending on how much time you have available. Go to Kalahari.com to order.

12.  Remember spending hours on the trampoline when you were a kid?

Description: “Urban rebounding”

“Urban rebounding” is hot again overseas, so look out for the lightweight mini-trampolines that are specially made for gym environments. You can get a full cardio workout without any jarring and you can either use a DVD workout as accompaniment, or just put on some dance music and work up a sweat. Body Sculpture Aerobic Bouncer Mini Trampolines are available from Sportsmans Warehouse.

Don’t hold back!

Some of us thrive on the kick-up-the-butt routine – sign up for something hard core and make sure you show up on time, no matter what. Once you’ve started a programme, you’re usually so revved up you can’t wait for the next class. Try these work-up-a-sweat programmes:

13.  Crossfit

Description: Crossfit

This is a core strength and conditioning programme that focuses on varied, high-intensity, functional movement. Want to improve your cardio, strength, speed, balance and flexibility? This demanding but comprehensive regime is used to train military units and martial artists, but it’s also adaptable to the average Jane.

“The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind,” states the official website (crossfit.com).

Available in South Africa (don’t be fooled because the website address is capecrossfit.com – all centres are included), CrossFit may be just the programme to whip you into shape.

14.  S.W.E.A.T. 1000

S.W.E.A.T. 1000 stands for Specialised Weight Endurance Aerobic Training – the 1000 is the number of calories (equivalent to 4 187 kJ) you can buy every class.

This grueling workout sees you doing intervals of speed and inclines on specialized treadmills that incline to a gradient of 30 percent, as well as doing floor work, and functional, core, resistance, suspension and aerobic training.

Fitness fanatics can get their fix at the Sea Point studio in Cape Town or the recently opened S.W.E.A.T. 1000 Studio in Morningside, Joburg. Creator Steve Uria says plans are in the pipeline for more studios nationally. Visit sweat1000.com for info.

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