Achieving a healthy weight is all down to a simple formula: energy in (food) must be balanced by energy out (activity). If there is an imbalance (I.e. too much of, too little of the other) then we become either overweight or underweight. Studies have shown that combining exercise with a healthy eating plan is the best way to lose weight and to maintain it in the longer term. Ask anyone who has lost weight and kept it off what their secret is and they’re more than likely to tell you that it’s down to regular exercise.
Exercise is essential in preventing weight gain, or assisting with weight loss, as it will use up any excess calories consumed. For instance, walking briskly for half an hour each day uses up, on average an extra 150 calories per day. This could lead to a total weight loss of 14 lbs or more if it is kept up for over a year!
Another benefit is a higher metabolic rate. If you are consistent with the amount of activity you do, then the lean muscle that you build up over time will help to raise your metabolic rate. Maintenance of muscle requires more energy than fat, so more muscle means that more calories are being used up over the day.
There are lots of different ways to keep active that dont require you to join a gym e.g. jogging, swimming, walking and cycling. If you are interested in joining a gym and doing some of the classes that they offer then it can be a bit of a minefield. Knowing which type of class you’ll enjoy the most and which one is the most suitable for your fitness level is a difficult choice. Usually there’s always a description available at the reception and if you’re still not sure which one to choose then you can speak to one of the instructors. Here’s a list and a brief description of the different types of classes available to help you in your choice:
Air Climber Fitness Stepper
Movement to music, led by an instructor who choreographs a routine. These classes are great for toning your muscles, burning calories and increasing your aerobic fitness. Theyre great fun too!
These classes are similar to aerobics but involve stepping up and down in time to music on a plastic step. Because of the slight incline you can burn more calories than aerobics. Step is also great for toning up leg and bottom muscles.
Toning classes (body Conditioning)
These classes are usually a combination of aerobic (low impact) and toning exercises. The main focus is toning up leg, upper body and stomach muscles.
Boxercise and Body Combat
These are very similar and they use techniques from Tai Chi, Boxing and Karate. Its a cardiovascular class so its good at making your heart and lungs work very hard. You perform a range of kicking and punching moves which requires a good level of fitness.
Using either machines or free weights, this provides resistance to your muscles in order to increase strength and tone to them.
Core Conditioning/Exercise Balls
Specialised classes that concentrate on back and stomach muscles. A Pilates based workout with focus on posture and strengthening the core abdominals, with balance and stretch elements.