The gym and fitness industry exploded into life in recent years, but there are now new ways to become physically and mentally healthy, without having to go to a gym.
Group training classes
Going to the gym can be tough. Especially if you attend the gym alone and struggle to motivate yourself and fail to push yourself to achieve your desired goals. However, the gym culture is gradually changing. No longer do you have to attend a gym and pay a membership to work out. There are now some gyms that are specifically designed to group training classes. So for a fee, whether it is per class or an up-front fee for a certain amount of time, you can train with a group while a personal trainer coaches the class. To date, these have proven popular among people who haven’t attended gyms in the past and people who struggle for self-motivation when training. These classes often take place in a gym facility, or they can also take place outdoors using equipment such as kettle bells, ropes, etc.
Dancing has become one of the most popular forms of fitness in recent times. Dancing is and always will be considered an art, and it takes truly accomplished performers to excel at it. However, dance is also the universal language of movement. People want to move in a way that doesn’t feel like exercise. These classes seem more like a party than they do a workout and have proven very successful. A dance workout is a great way to build fitness and lose weight. They are thought by an instructor through some different forms of dancing including Zumba, hip-hop and also Bokwa.
Aqua cycling is reasonably new and is still in the growth process, but across the USA and Europe, the numbers participating are on the up. The aqua cycling workout is an underwater cycling class. The bikes are placed in a pool, and you pedal against the water resistance, with water up to the waist. Not only do you shape your body in a much more efficient way than on land but you also protect your health, your bone structure, your joints and your muscles. Scientific studies show that exercising in water provides numerous benefits to both health and body. Aqua running is also the same process, only running underwater as opposed to cycling – which many elite sports athletes do during workouts.
Functional fitness training
Functional fitness is an entirely different form of fitness to the forms mentioned above. Realistically, the chances are you don’t enjoy exercise. For most people, exercise is a way to maintain or improve your quality of life. And that’s the focus of functional fitness. Functional fitness exercises are designed to train and develop your muscles to make it easier and safer to perform everyday activities. Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. This could be something as simple as carrying something heavy in your arms.
Ok, we know what you’re thinking: that running groups have existed for a long time – and you would be right. However, the popularity of running groups is now much stronger than ever before. This is largely down to social media and groups that have been set up online to communicate in advance of meeting up. This is arguably one of the most popular forms of fitness for a number of reasons including; you don’t need to sign up to anything or pay any fees, it is open to runners of all levels, it’s an excellent way to meet new likeminded people, and simply because running is one of the best forms of fitness.
The art of mental fitness and wellbeing
While physical fitness gets the majority of attention, mental fitness is just as important, and shouldn’t be neglected. It refers to the process of keeping your brain and health in good condition.
Noel Collins, who is also known as The MET Trainer, is a personal trainer in Co. Clare and works with clients on all aspects of fitness, placing massive importance on mental fitness. He spoke to ThinkBusiness about why mental fitness is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Aside from physical fitness, how important is it to maintain and improve mental fitness?
Sustaining and improving mental fitness is so important especially in today’s environment. As the saying goes, what you think about, you bring about. Focusing on what you want and not what you don’t want seems so simple but lots of people do the opposite. Think about it, have you at times focused on things that you don’t want to happen and then these things happen. It is so crucial to start to shift the mindset to focus on all the right things you want to occur in life. So how do you improve mental fitness? In my experience you have to make small changes and steps to start to reprogram your mind set and how you think about situations and life.
“A person has to develop a positive mind-set and a positive way of living to improve mental fitness.”
Is there too much onus put on being physically fit?
I think people in Ireland are just becoming more conscious of their health. People are eating better, making lifestyle changes and increasing their physical fitness. The increase in cycling, park runs, challenge events and races and fitness classes is evident.
Is it difficult to find the right balance between the two aspects of fitness? (mental and physical)
It can be for a lot of people as they lack motivation, make excuses and find it hard to keep on track. The MET Trainer thinks that the three components of mind, eating and training are all interlinked and complement each other and it’s important for people to find the right balance between the three for a long-term maintainable approach to health. You can’t out-train a bad diet. The mind component is equally as important, if not more. People have to create motivation and make sacrifices and set maintainable goals to achieve.