Get fit for 2012

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 UK’s number one New Year’s resolution. But most people fail to keep up a new exercise regime because they experience gym boredom. So don’t 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 RyeFriendly 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, sam-murphy.co.uk/rye-running-group

Netball in EastbourneAdult 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

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Tennis in SeafordSeaford & 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.

07877974802, seafordtennis.com

Athletics in HastingsJoining 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 CrawleyThis 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, ep�e and sabre weapons, as well as the famous side-stance footwork.

01293 585300, crawleyswordclub.co.uk

Hula hoop in WorthingThere isn’t 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.

07773935688, chichirevolver.com

Trampolining in PortsladeRelish the pure unadulterated joy of jumping. Bounce up and down for an hour and a half a week at this weekly class. You don’t 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-SeaPersonal 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

GENTLE EXERCISE

Tai chi in BexhillMake the beautiful movements of tai chi at one of Mark Long’s 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 ChichesterThe 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 LewesThe 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 AlfristonJoseph 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

HIGH IMPACT

Triathlon training in Haywards HeathIf 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.

midsussextriclub.com

Box in BognorLearn 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 GrinsteadProbably 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.

senzala-eg.co.uk

Sprint in BrightonSprinting 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.

danbrooker@hotmail.com, brightonandhovecity-ac.com

Roller Derby in ShorehamDescribed 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

DANCE

Bellydance in HailshamThere 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 MidhurstZumba’s 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.

judithmzumba.blogspot.com

Pirouette in PatchamBallet 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 HeathGetting 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 BrightonAsha Kirkby, one of the UK’s 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 ForestDisappear 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 CrowboroughHone 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 HoveUse 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.

01273 424842, lagoonwatersports.co.uk

GET FIT AS A COUPLE

Tango in FerringThe Argentine Tango (not the same as Ballroom Tango) is one of the most beautiful couple dances in the world. It’s 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 ForestWho is doing the pedalling!? Cycle in unison (that’s the idea) on a tandem bike hired from the Seven Sisters Cycle Company.

01323 870 310, cuckmere-cycle.co.uk

Badminton in LittlehamptonBadminton 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 haven’t 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.

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