Rakhi Shingadia, Community Sports Manager at Better Leisure, offers her expert advice on the best ways to re-activate a fitness programme and discusses the myriad of exercise options available in the Thames Valley.

Getting started

For many people, Spring signals a time to start getting fit. However it can be hard to decide on the best way to begin exercising after a winter hiatus. A good plan is to pick a few different types of exercise to try. Fun group classes, a gym induction and a swim in the pool are a great way to start.

A varied approach

Whatever the exercise path taken, a combination approach is always best so that one kind of exercise complements another. Many exercise classes or sports have multiple benefits. Total Body Conditioning, one of the classes offered at Better leisure facilities, is good for this as it’s a high-energy class that combines cardio and conditioning.

Gyms are typically designed to offer a broad range of benefits and Better gyms help to make the most of three types of training – cardio training designed to improve heart health and aid weight loss, strength training that improves balance and posture and functional training, a low-impact option designed to strengthen specific muscles.

New beginnings

A tip for people just starting out with exercising is to find somewhere with a wide range of membership options.

Dance classes are a great, light-hearted way to begin working out – Better has a range of options for this, from Dance Aerobics which is a great work-out for flexibility, fitness and cardio health to Zumba Gold which is a dance class set to Latin music.

In the same way, Pilates is something that can raise the fitness level of someone who is already very fit or can be adapted to help improve mobility for those recovering from an injury.

We also have a Buggy-a-cise class and Spring is a lovely time for mums with winter babies to get back into exercising by making their buggy part of their work-out.

Pilates Yoga

Tips for staying on track

Different things work for different people but these things can help with staying active:

  • Team up with a friend or someone you’ve met in class.
  • Stay hydrated while you exercise.
  • Set goals that’ll help you stay on track and measure progress.
  • Mix it up – try a different type of exercise every now and then so that you’d don’t get bored and lose motivation.
  • Think about your work-out wardrobe. Some people find a new outfit very motivational.

Hidden benefits

The benefits of exercising are widespread and not limited to improving physical fitness. Exercise is great for both body and mind and the endorphins released when exercising can help to boost mood and combat stress.

Please see www.better.org.uk to find out more about your local facilities. Whatever your style, there is something for everyone.