5 ways to get fit this year
Which new fitness trends and shiny gadgets are
really worth the sweat? Mumsnetters sort the effective stuff
from the fluff
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What's the deal?
Unlike the tedium of a stationary gym bike, spinning bikes are equipped
with a weighted front flywheel that picks up speed as you pedal. You can turn
the tension up or down to simulate steep hills or flat roads, and you'll burn
around 500 calories in a 45 minute class. Because the thighs are such a large
muscle group, they respond
quickly to activity, increasing the muscle to fat
ratio within your body - this ups your metabolic rate
, helping you burn more
fat overall. If you're returning to exercise, spin's a great
option: there are no difficult moves to mess up, and as
everyone starts and finishes together, no one is left at the back. Just
bring a big water bottle, because things are about to get sweaty.
What do Mumsnetters say?
"Concentrate on keeping the pedals going to start with; you don't have
to turn up the resistance when told to do so! Your arse will get used to
Chat with fellow spinners on Talk
What's the deal?
Virtual classes that you can call on via your smartphone are
great for anyone on a tight or erratic schedule. Not
having to rush for a specific class - or beat yourself up about missing it -
is a definite boon - and with some of the world's best trainers
reachable for little or no cost, you'll do away with the financial barrier of
an expensive gym membership. If you've been out of the fitness game
for a while, it can be easier to get up to speed in the comfort of
your living room, and from ballet barre to High Intensity
Interval Training (HIIT)
, there is something for everyone.
"The Body Coach does loads of HIIT
YouTube videos. You can sign
up for a free taster fortnight on his website. I follow him on
Facebook, and he posts loads of tips there, too."
"At home I use FitnessBlender videos. These are free, fantastic for selecting
how long you want to work, at what intensity, and with what equipment."
In this strength-training class you squat, curl
and press while holding a barbell (a long, steel pole with
weight plates at the end). Your instructor will take you
through 10 tracks to warm you up, target individual muscle
groups, and then cool you down. The Les Mills class is franchised to
multiple gyms, so the moves and pop soundtrack (hello Uptown
Funk) will be the same, wherever you are. Put off by the
weights? Bodypump doesn't bulk you up. Instead, doing lots
of repetitions with a light to medium load (your
instructor will advise on numbers) helps define arms,
firm bottoms and tighten your core - and you'll burn
around 590 calories per session. Even if you're not fussed about
aesthetics, it's still worth a try: weight bearing exercise can help reduce your osteoporosis risk by counteracting the age-related loss of bone
What do Mumsnetters
"Pump elevates my heart rate significantly,
and I sweat a lot! My shape has changed so much in the year that I've
been doing it, and I love how much stronger I am. I had zero upper
body strength before."
What's the deal?
A hybrid of bodyweight and cardio interval training, this DVD
series is bloody tough. Fronted by Mr. Motivator, Shaun T, the
hour-long sessions claim to torch up to 1,000 calories and increase your aerobic fitness. Unlike regular
circuits (where you exercise within a
'comfortable' range and then up the intensity for a short
period) Insanity works you as hard as possible for blocks of three minutes, with only 30
seconds rest in between. There
are ten workouts in
the program, and you'll do six per week, mixing it up as you go.
Plyometric moves (like hopping and jumping) do a good job of toning your
legs and bum, but they're very high-impact, so steer clear if you suffer
from weak knees or arthritis.
you need is yourself, the DVDs (£99) and some steely
"If you're already fit, then you'll be fine. I do shorter workouts
because of time pressures (because I'm a wimp), but no matter what
you do, you can always ramp it up or tone it down."
Game for the
insane? Join the chat on Mumsnet Talk
and clip-on activity
monitors have gone from
niche playthings of the data-mad fitness nut to one of the top
Christmas presents of 2015. They measure motion - multiple
sensors record your
movement, rotation and altitude - and convert it into to steps,
activity and calories burned (so you
can pat yourself on the back for taking the
than getting the lift). To monitor your overall
even grade your ZZZ's using a process called actigraphy, which translates
your movements into
patterns. Most trackers
come with their own app, so you can check up on how you're doing - just make sure
that both bits of tech are compatible for automatic
What do Mumsnetters say:
The FitBit is trending on
Mumsnet Talk: "I've been marching up and down on the spot,
watching the steps go up on my phone. Am sure the novelty will wear
off, but for now, I love it!"
Getting dodgy readings
when pushing a buggy? The FitBit monitors arm movements, so
try this: "I take mine off my wrist and attach it at my hip. So it's
either secured through the belt loop of my jeans, or through
the side of my knickers and tucked inside leggings. The readings are very
accurate that way."
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Disclaimer: All the advice here is provided for
general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for
the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care
professional. Always consult your GP if you are in any way concerned
about your health.