5 ways to keep fit in Dorset this New Year
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From boot camps to kick start your new fitness regime to yoga on the beach or Nordic walking in the woods, there are plenty of ways to get fit in Dorset this year. Abigail Butcher gives us the low down
Decided that 2015 is going to be the year you get fit? There has never been a better time. As a nation we might be getting fatter (six out of 10 men are obese, five out of 10 women), but as a nation there are even more options available to get fitter - some of which are actually fun. There’s no better way to boost your confidence, self-esteem and social life than to get fit.
This year it’s all about training smart — high intensity workouts over short bursts of time to maximise effort are key, along with scientific fitness testing before you start. You can even have your genes analysed to discover which workouts and food will benefit you best.
If you’re short on money, or perhaps want to kick-start things in private before hitting the gym, there is a huge array of fitness apps — one of my favourites is mycloudtag, available on Android and iOS, devised by celebrity London trainer Matt Roberts.
1 - YOGA, PILATES AND CORE TRAINING
Think yoga and pilates are not really a workout? Done properly, with 100% focus and you’ll be aching the next day. These exercises strengthen your core muscles, and core strength is essential in daily life and any exercise. There are many variants so you can find a class to suit you, whatever your experience or age. There are pilates and yoga classes run across the county, even some on the beach during the summer months.
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• Types of yoga: If you’re a beginner, look out for a Hatha yoga class, it’s slower and more gentle. Ashtanga is more vigorous and strengthening, with poses held for five breaths and punctuated by sun salutations. Flow yoga is a faster paced yoga, more advanced again. Another commonly found form is Bikram (hot) yoga, which aids detoxification, allows you to stretch more fully, boosts the immune system and encourages weight loss.
• Types of pilates: Founded 200 years ago by Dr Joseph Pilates, this form of exercise is still going strong though another variant commonly seen these days is Stott Pilates. Broadly following the concept of the original core exercises, it was developed in the US by Lindsay and Moira Meritthew in Canada together with physiotherapists. Both variants of pilates can be mat-based, done with Swiss balls, bands, foam rollers or on a reformer — a more intensive workout because of resistance provided by a machine with springs. Dynamica Pilates in Bournemouth (dynamicapilates.com 01202 554147) and Harbour Pilates Studio in Poole (harbourpilates.co.uk 07795 284724) both offer classes on reformers.
2 - BOOT CAMP & FITNESS RETREATS
Why not embark on your new regime by kick starting it with an intensive week? Several days of cardiovascular training and healthy eating in a friendly environment - what’s not to like?
Reboot Fitness in Symondsbury, near Bridport, runs camps over five days with circuits, sea swims, massage, yoga and nutritional and fitness talks. Their promise is to send you off with the tools to make permanent changes, courses starts from £495 (01202 313667, rebootdorset.com).
FitFarms are the longest-running fitness and weight loss retreats in the UK. They have a farm venue between Sherborne and Shaftesbury and specialise in women only and mixed group retreats (0800 634 3070 fitfarms.co.uk).
The Body Retreat runs women-only weight loss and detox retreats in West Dorset for those who want to reboot their lifestyle and enjoy a healthier future. Courses range from a One Day Boot Camp or Weekend Camp to a 16 week Body Breakthrough to drop two dress sizes (0203 7011603 thebodyretreat.co.uk).
3 - CHANGE THE WAY YOU TRAIN
Intimidated by gyms? You’re not alone - even if you’ve had an induction at your local gym it’s hard to remember how to use the equipment or what to do. Why not splash out on a few personal training sessions? They’re not as pricey as you might think (£20-£40 a session on average) and a one-to-one session will give you double the workout you’d do alone in half the time. The National Register of Personal Trainers (nrpt.co.uk) is a good place to find a registered and insured trainer near you, also ask around for a personal recommendation too.
Want to try something new in the gym? Check out CrossFit - universally loved by devotees all around the world, CrossFit offers dedicated trainers that coach fun, intense workouts using weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, functional movements and a range of cardiovascular activities for “any committed individual regardless of experience”. There are gyms in Bournemouth (crossfitbournemouth.com), Poole (crossfitpoole.com) and Dorchester (dorchesterstrength.com).
Short on time? Soon there will be 24-hour gyms in Bournemouth and Poole thanks to the startling growth of Anytime Fitness (anytimefitness.co.uk) which already has centres in Bath, Southampton and Winchester. Expect openings this spring.
• Take it outside: Why stick to a gym? British Military Fitness runs sessions in Poole Park and Branksome Beach (britmilfit.com); LD Personal Training offers “bootcamp and soccerfit” sessions at Flaghead Chine and Learoyd Road several days a week (ldpersonaltraining.co.uk); Parafitness is run by former Parachute Regiment soldier Luke Manion who describes it as “fun outdoor group fitness sessions” in Poundbury Park, Dorchester (07939 584113 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
4 - NORDIC WALKING
If you want to get more out of your walk, why not try the Nordic version? Originating in Scandinavia in the 1930s, Nordic walking uses poles to propel yourself along which uses 90% of the muscles in your body and between 20% and 30% more calories than normal while giving you more stability. In Dorset, it’s surprisingly popular – all you need is a good pair of trainers and some poles. Moors Valley offers taster sessions, “learn-to” courses, wellness, adventure and workout walks (moors-valley.co.uk, 01425 470721). Physio David Mott leads Nordic walks around Hengistbury Head (dmyphysiofitness.co.uk, 01202 397172) and there is also an instructor at the Ferndown Leisure Centre 01202 877468, they also regularly hold four week ‘Learn to Nordic Walk’ courses. To find an instructor near you, visit nordicwalking.co.uk. Nordic Walking UK, which is based in Purbeck, have 3,000 instructors across the UK and organise regional get togethers (nordicwalking.co.uk).
5 - DANCE YOURSELF FIT
“Ditch the workout, join the party” is the slogan for Zumba, one of the fastest growing fitness crazes of recent years. The Latin-dance inspired workout is reportedly performed by more than 12 million people in 125 countries and is available in gyms and fitness centres across Dorset.
Barre Concept is a low-impact, total body workout combining elements from ballet, Pilates and yoga along with resistance training, much of it uses a ballet barre. Try it for yourself at Sherborne Dance Academy (sherbornedance.co.uk).
Street Dance is another fast-growing fitness craze. Learn “locking, house, popping, waacking” and more, including Fit4Street which blends edgy dance moves and intense fat-burning exercise, can be found at Pavilion Dance South West in Bournemouth (pdsw.org.uk, 01202 203630).