Jogging's so 2009. Now you need a trapeze to stay fit
Want to get in shape this year? Try one of our new top 10 crazes
Sunday 03 January 2010
If the thought of a chilly January jog does nothing for your new year's fitness resolution, take heart: there are plenty of other ways to shed those festive love handles. From Rollerskiing to Kranking, the IoS has compiled a guide to more novel ways of kick-starting your metabolism.
Fitness experts have tipped anything that gets results fast, building on from last year's craze for Power Plating, which uses a vibrating machine to achieve results in super-quick time. Nick Hudson, Virgin Active's national fitness manager, said fitness in 2010 needs to be "accessible, enjoyable and fast". He added: "Exercise in general will be less about thinking and more about enjoyment. Effective exercise is no longer about complicated, technical workouts on individual muscles."
Although our top 10 list includes some group classes, exercising at home is becoming increasingly popular, with nearly a fifth of gym members cancelling their memberships in the past 12 months according to the market research analysts Mintel. Michael Oliver, senior leisure analyst at Mintel, said: "The price of home fitness equipment has fallen and other innovations, such as the Nintendo Wii fitness products, have also encouraged consumers to bring exercise back indoors."
A host of heirs to the MBT (or Masai Barefoot Technology) throne have pushed toning shoes into the mainstream. This winter there is even a FitFlop boot, which like its summertime brother claims to tighten your bum and work muscles while you walk. Even the trainer giants are at it: sales of Reebok's Easytone shoe doubled at Debenhams last month. The "balance pods" under the heel and forefoot promise to give you 28 per cent more of a workout – even if you're just hitting the January sales.
Surely one of the most bizarre ways to get fit. Instead of strapping on skis and hurtling downhill on the white stuff, this involves two bits of wood, four wheels and two sticks: no white stuff required. Your feet clip into the skis at the toes, leaving your heels free to lift, as with cross-country skiing. Try it out at London's Hyde Park or at Dorney Lake, near Windsor. Apparently it uses 90 per cent of the body's muscles, providing a killer all-over workout.
Picture spinning – but with your arms – and you've got Kranking: a cardio workout from the waist up. Dreamt up by Johnny Goldberg, the American trainer who brought us the Noughties' gym craze spinning, Kranking is already big in the US. You'll need a Krankcycle to get started, an "arm bike" if you can imagine such a thing with hand-pedals instead of a handlebar. Have your sleeveless top at the ready.
If another season of Strictly Come Dancing has left you with a yen to master some steps but you're stuck for a style, then worry not because Zumba combines all the hot moves in one. It's like salsa on speed, with a dash of mambo, samba and merengue thrown in for good measure. Classes burn around 700 calories an hour. Or, for the traditionalists, Fitness First has launched Strictly Fit: group exercise classes based on the show for a low-impact workout.
If you've ever fancied the chance to play gladiator – with yourself – then this is the exercise class for you. Grab your battering ram – sorry, giant rubber tube – and get going. You can choose your weight, from 4kg to 20kg, and choose what you do with it from throwing it to stepping on it. ViPR, by the way, stands for Vitality, Performance and Reconditioning. You'll find it at Virgin Active.
You can't call it Hula-Hooping, unless you credit Wham-O, which holds the Hula-Hoop trademark, but that won't stop you shedding the pounds once you get the knack of this playground classic that has the dance club scene to thank for its revival. And Michelle Obama. The First Lady "hooped" with school children on the White House lawn last autumn, helping to reignite a craze that counts the singer Beyoncé Knowles among its fans. Hooping works more than 30 core muscles – and you don't even need to shell out for a group exercise class, although, obviously, such things do exist.
There's now no excuse for gaming geeks not to be as buff as their outdoor-loving counterparts thanks to the rise of exergaming. Nintendo rules the roost with its Wii Fit games, but there's also the EA Sports Active. Your Shape Wii, the latest for this year, is a bit like having your own personal trainer because it features a camera that gives you instant feedback on your body shape.
Another one for anyone wishing to wage war on their bingo wings, the Shake Weight is a vibrating dumbbell that relies on the unlikely sounding technology of "dynamic inertia" to tone your arms in just six minutes a day. Alex Gerrard, the wife of the Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, is its latest fan, although apparently her footballing husband can use it as well.
The theory behind aerial fitness classes is that you've never seen an overweight trapeze artist. Try swinging through the sky on trapeze-style bars to tone up this year. It's certainly more fun than your average exercise class, although probably not one to try at home. Reebok Sports Club offers a workout called Jukari: Fit to Fly that comes with a Cirque du Soleil seal of approval, no less.
If wobble boards just don't do it for you, then try investing in an Indo Board. Imagine surfing indoors on a bit of wood balanced on a separate tube and you'll get the gist. One for the wannabe surfers and skaters out there, and anyone looking for a novel cross-trainer as you will need to use so many different muscles just to stay upright.
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