When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercise is an essential ingredient. Whether you like to hit the pavement, spend hours sweating in the gym, or balance your mind and body through yoga, there is an exercise to suit you. InsideOut examines the best workouts and how they can benefit your body and mind.
Pilates is the perfect form of exercise for highly-stressed, impatient people, particularly those who are workaholics, says Colleen Brummer of Energy. The nature of the discipline, and the emphasis on improved breathing techniques, calms devotees and enables them to release their tension.
“It’s great for type-A personalities, people that are very narrowed into specific ways,” Colleen says. “Often these people come in and they say, ‘I have tension in my neck and my back’, and they’re under huge stress and these are the people that benefit the most.”
Colleen says pilates has a perception of being aimed at females, which she believes accounts for the large gender imbalance she sees at her studio. However, she says both sexes can benefit from pilates, as it targets the body’s posture, strength and balance.
“People that do pilates are in tune with their bodies. You really have an increased awareness of posture and how you hold yourself,” Colleen says. “The idea of pilates is to strengthen your balance and control so the activities you do throughout the day are pain free.”
Yoga has gained a reputation for being a hippie-centric discipline. But, according to Janelle Kroon of Bliss Living and Yoga, the exercise form suits everyone and anyone.
“I see all types of people, from corporate to athletes to mothers to doctors. It’s right across the scale,” says Janelle, who has been practising yoga for 12 years. “It’s the most diverse group of people.”
Janelle believes yoga, which she calls “moving meditation”, has many benefits for both the mind and body, including improved strength, flexibility, toning, weight loss or gain, and lubrication of the joints and connective tissue. It is as essential for the mind as it is for the body.
“Yoga is great for your stress levels,” Janelle says. “It’s calming, it teaches you strength, compassion, patience.
“It’s not about whether you can do handstands or push-ups. You need to just sweat it out, in your body and your mind.”
Running is predominantly a solo activity, benefiting those who have the motivation to exercise without being part of a group. Colleen Brummer, who operates Energy Running Club, says running is a private exercise ideal for those with a flexible schedule.
“Running is different than being in a team,” Colleen says. “Running is something you can do on your own and on your own time.
“The Running Club was great though, because it was a group environment, so there was a lot of help and encouragement.”
As running is very athletic, its advantages include weight loss, improved fitness, coordination and stamina. Colleen believes there is also a connection between the mind and body when running. However, it is essential to have correct form to ensure maximum benefits and prevent long-term damage to the body.
“Running is about your posture, your gait, your arms, the way you move, your breathing. If you’re running properly, you can get the right results,” Colleen says.
Spinning is often perceived as a challenging sport that is not for the faint of heart. However, Jerome and Cathy Ameline, of Revolutions Indoor Cycling, say the high-intensity, low-impact exercise suits anyone who wants to lose weight, get fit and tone their body.
“Anyone can benefit from the spinning program,” Jerome explains. “Because you do go at your own pace, by controlling the resistance on your bike, spinning is a great way to get fit at your own rate.”
As spinning can burn up to 600 calories in a 50-minute class, it is highly effective for weight loss. Spinning also builds a strong core, legs, gluts, back and upper body. On an emotional level, Jerome says spinning is great at beating stress and releasing endorphins into the body.
“So many people buy gym memberships for peace of mind than an actual plan to exercise,” says Jerome, whose classes are comprised mainly of women. “People that keep coming back are only the ones committed to exercise to get fitter or lose weight, who are training for a special event, like a marathon.”