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Your waistline is the shape of a Christmas turkey but you're loath to go to the gym. Fear not, says Hazel Sillver, there are more exciting ways to shed the pounds and tone up...
Exercise dramatically reduces depression, stress and insomnia. We all know this, which is why getting fit is the UKs number one New Years resolution. But most people fail to keep up a new exercise regime because they experience gym boredom. So dont go to the gym! The best way to get fit and stay fit is to do something fun and social that teaches you a new skill. Here are a few ideas:
BE SOCIAL JOIN A CLUB
Beach run in Rye
Friendly coach Sam Murphy set up this running club two years ago. Each week they jog a different 3-5 mile route, usually including the beach. All ages and speeds take part.
07817 687 241,
Netball in Eastbourne
Adult netball is fast growing in popularity across the UK. This club is for all ages and abilities. They meet weekly and run their own league.
07790 566 845, eastbourne-netball.com
Tennis in Seaford
Seaford & Blatchington Tennis Club has seven courts and a clubhouse with a bar and lounge. There is a resident coach and experienced players go on to compete in the Sussex leagues.
Athletics in Hastings
Joining an athletics club is a great way to get fit because the various exercises work every muscle group. Power down the 100m track and launch yourself over the high jump.
07711 777363, hastingsathleticclub.co.uk
TRY SOMETHING NEW
Fence in Crawley
This is how the French fight. Shout En garde at the Sword Club in Crawley, one of the oldest fencing clubs in the UK. Their beginners course teaches the basics of the foil, epe and sabre weapons, as well as the famous side-stance footwork.
01293 585300, crawleyswordclub.co.uk
Hula hoop in Worthing
There isnt much that reduces a turkey-stuffed waistline as well as hooping. It tones your torso to an hourglass shape. Circus performer Chi Chi Revolver (who can hula with 30 hoops) runs fun courses for beginners.
Trampolining in Portslade
Relish the pure unadulterated joy of jumping. Bounce up and down for an hour and a half a week at this weekly class. You dont need to take a child along as an excuse to have a go because this is an adult-only class.
01273 411100, pcc-web.com/sports/trampolining.asp
Hot yoga in Storrington
Turn up the heat! Yoga sequences are practised in a hot room in order to soften muscles and thus prevent injury. This is a challenging, but rewarding weekly yoga class in a gorgeous rural setting.
01903 892 797, theyogagarden.co.uk
Circuits in St Leonards-on-Sea
Personal trainer Paul McCleery has designed this circuit training for people who hate the gym. Done indoors in winter and outdoors in summer, the fun group classes include a range of resistance and aerobic exercises.
07966 168857, paulmccleery.com
Tai chi in Bexhill
Make the beautiful movements of tai chi at one of Mark Longs weekly classes. Tai chi is a martial art that involves serene flowing sequences; Mark also teaches the even gentler health exercises of Qi gong.
07790 859551, energeticchi.com
Swim without tension in Chichester
The Shaw Method teaches swimmers how to do breaststroke, back and crawl without any tension. This prevents strain, and allows freer movement. It is especially beneficial for those with neck or back pain.
020 8446 9442, artofswimming.com
Scaravelli yoga in Lewes
The Scaravelli method teaches pupils to hold yoga postures without tension, thus preventing muscle strain and promoting relaxation. There is emphasis on breathing to aid stress release.
07710 362229, janemanze.com
Pilates in Alfriston
Joseph Pilates method teaches that the mind controls the muscles. The technique increases flexibility and strength (which is why it is loved by professional dancers) and burns fat.
0790 368 1962, alfristonpilates.com
Triathlon training in Haywards Heath
If you want to get really fit, competing in triathlons is a great way to do so. The Mid Sussex Triathlon Club meets weekly for a two-hour run and swim training session, followed by a drink in the bar.
Box in Bognor
Learn to swing a punch at the Bognor Amateur Boxing Club. Immerse yourself in the world of fighting, learning the arts of self-discipline, intense training and fast, dancing feet. They also run a martial arts class.
01243 862279, vkgym.co.uk
Capoeira in East Grinstead
Probably the most beautiful form of fighting in the world, Capoeira was developed by slaves in Brazil to look like dancing. It is a highly athletic martial art, performed to music.
Sprint in Brighton
Sprinting is sociable and great for fitness, building strong arms and legs and creating good posture. Train with sprinter Dan Brooker, who coaches all ages and levels, from Olympic hopefuls to mature amateurs.
Roller Derby in Shoreham
Described as being akin to rugby on roller skates for women, roller derby is not for the faint hearted. The team must tackle the jammer (point scorer). This is a new sport, fast growing in popularity.
07858 912322, brightonrockers.com
Bellydance in Hailsham
There is no better way to celebrate your femininity than the ancient art of bellydancing. Tone your waist, curve your body into beautiful shapes and have lots of fun at the same time.
01323 482713, theseagypsies.co.uk
Zumba in Midhurst
Zumbas motto is ditch the workout, join the party. Attending one of these Latino classes is like dancing in a nightclub with friends. Each class is called a fitness-party and involves a sequence of salsa and merengue moves.
Pirouette in Patcham
Ballet is not just for children. Adult ballet classes are more and more popular. Learn to pirouette and stand on point with ballet dancer Judy Breen.
07880 810122, HamptonBalletAcademy.com
Zulu dance in Haywards Heath
Getting fit has never been this much fun. The Nia classes taught by Jo Davidson involve a blend of dance and martial arts moves, such as pretending to be a zulu warrior or an earth goddess. Barmy and brilliant. She also teaches in Hassocks.
07977 901383, niaacademy.co.uk
EXERCISE AS A FAMILY
Rollerskate in Brighton
Asha Kirkby, one of the UKs best skate teachers runs rollerblading lessons by the West Pier. She also offers rollerdance classes and will even teach you the moonwalk! Rollerskating is fun and great for coordination.
0771 2045133, skatefresh.com/skatefresh-brighton
Horse riding in Ashdown Forest
Disappear into the beautiful vast heathland of Ashdown Forest on horseback. The riding centre offers treks for beginners and experienced riders, so you can plod peacefully or canter at pace. The pub rides include a pub lunch.
0781 809 3880, ashdownforestriding.co.uk
Climb in Crowborough
Hone your spiderman skills at this indoor climbing club. The wall is 5.5m high and dotted with hand and foot holds that resemble the cracks and overhangs of real rock.
01892 862924, evolutionindoorclimbing.co.uk
Sail in Hove
Use the safety of the Hove lagoon to develop your sailing skills and decide who is going to be skipper. Learn to sail a dinghy or a yacht competently before heading out into the big blue together.
GET FIT AS A COUPLE
Tango in Ferring
The Argentine Tango (not the same as Ballroom Tango) is one of the most beautiful couple dances in the world. Its also one of the hardest, but once mastered it will improve your fitness and your love life no end
07808 594005, registango.co.uk
Tandem bike around Friston Forest
Who is doing the pedalling!? Cycle in unison (thats the idea) on a tandem bike hired from the Seven Sisters Cycle Company.
01323 870 310, cuckmere-cycle.co.uk
Badminton in Littlehampton
Badminton is an aerobic sport that improves agility and coordination. If you want something more aggressive, the club also has squash courts.
01903 713 217, lbsc.org.uk
HEALTH WARNING: Strenuous exercise should only be undertaken if you are fit and well. If beginning a new fitness regime, especially if you are overweight or havent exercised for a long time, please look after yourself and go slowly. Fitness takes time and is aided by rest and relaxation. If in doubt, see a doctor.