Reboot your routine with these new, fun training ideas
If you like water sports…try paddleboard yoga
Paddleboarding is a low-impact combination of surfing and kayaking. The board is larger than a surfboard, allowing you to balance with ease and stay steady (and dry!). The paddling engages your legs, core and arms – but the real trick is adding yoga. Once attached to a buoy, the paddleboard becomes a yoga mat, allowing you to drift around while slowly and carefully moving your body into yoga positions. Paddling works your entire body from top to toe, while yoga stretches muscles and strengthens limbs. Weather and location are major factors in this activity. For your best chance of success, choose a calm stretch of water with no tidal current and a day with little or no wind.
Why you’ll like it:
This calming activity is a mixture of exercise and meditation. On a still and sunny day, it’s a delightful way of getting outside and burning some KJs. From start to finish, I spent two hours on my paddleboard and I enjoyed every minute of it. My instructor and I paddled for 20 minutes to a calm spot in Auckland’s Orakei Basin before attaching our boards to a floating buoy. Once settled on the board, we practised some simple yoga moves and stretches, including downward facing dog, the lunge pose and the plank pose. Having little yoga experience, I assumed falling into the water was inevitable, but except for a few shaky moments I felt safe and steady. The sounds of nature that surrounded us were the perfect backing track to the workout. When I arrived back on land, I was alert and calm – a far cry from the flustered state I arrived in.
- Layer up! Exercise tights and a long sleeve top are a must
- Be prepared to spend a few hours on the water. Go to the bathroom before you head out!
- To find more information on stand-up paddleboarding, visit supnz.com
If you like gadgets…try the Sony SmartBand
The Sony SmartBand is perfect for anyone who’s interested in tracking their everyday fitness. The band connects to the Lifestream app, which you can download onto your android or Sony phone and refresh as often as you like. It picks up almost all your daily activities and categorises them into different areas; I found it was most useful in tracking my runs, walks, calories burned and sleep pattern. A graph tells you how far away you are from your daily goal, and at which point during the day you worked hardest.
Why you’ll like it: This smartband is about you. Whether you want to drastically change your lifestyle or simply track your current fitness routine, the band can be tailored to your personal goals and fitness aspirations and documents your progress. While wearing it, I was more inclined to exercise and for longer periods of time, just to look at the graphs or boast about my progress. The pedometer pushed me to walk more often – even if it was just around the office or outside for fresh air. Using the band for two weeks helped me break some old habits and encouraged me to be more active in my day-to-day life, and noticing my lack of sleep encouraged me to go to bed earlier. Burning calories and more sleep – win-win!
- Set achievable goals
- Don’t obsess. It’s easy to get carried away, but good health is about balance, so be open to varied results on your off days
If you like high-intensity cardio…try kickboxing
Kickboxing is a great high-intensity workout that pushes your whole body. In the one-on-one class I took at Auckland’s City Boxing, I spent the first 10 minutes warming up, getting comfortable in the ring and learning new kickboxing moves. The following 30 minutes were dedicated to an assortment of fighting combinations which included hooks, elbow hooks, knee kicks, alternating leg kicks and uppercuts. Every three minutes a buzzer went off, allowing a well-deserved 60-second break. This was repeated roughly seven times, but can be altered depending on your fitness level.
Why you’ll like it:
I found the new kickboxing moves woke up some dormant muscles in my back, shoulders, arms and legs. Attending a one-on-one class (as opposed to a group class) encouraged me to give it my all. It’s impossible to hide or blend into the crowd. The constant switching from upper to lower body kept me mentally stimulated and added cardio to the workout. I could tell my trainer Shelby was keeping track of my capabilities and tailoring the workout around my fitness level and boxing ability. If you’re not familiar with all the moves, the constantly changing commands can be confusing, so working with a trainer who adapts the workout for you is vital. The three-minutes-on, one-minute-off system encouraged me to push myself because I knew a well-earned break was coming up. Kickboxing is not for the faint-hearted! After the full 40 minutes, my face was deep red, but I felt energised for the day ahead.
- Invest in a pair of boxing wraps. Your hands will thank you
- Keep hydrated
- If you’re intimidated by the idea of joining a group class, try a one-on-one lesson first to learn the different punches and kicks
- Don’t go the same week you plan to show off your pins – you may have bruises after a class
- Keep trying if you struggle to keep up at first – you’ll learn the moves soon enough
If you like weights…try the batting cages
At Auckland’s The Fieldhouse batting cages, you can choose between cricket, baseball or softball batting in 30- or 60-minute time slots. Having no experience in cricket or softball, I went for baseball – it seemed the most straightforward. The machine shoots out 30 balls at a distance of 10 metres, with an eight-second break between each ball. The speed can vary, but I stuck with the minimum of 90km/h to be safe. For the first 10 balls I was hitting air, but once I got into the swing of things I made contact with 60 per cent of the pitches.
Why you’ll like it:
Batting is definitely a workout – but it’s the kind you’re oblivious to until it’s over. It requires concentration and hand-eye coordination, but past experience isn’t necessary – and it’s fun! Keeping your eye on the ball means it’s easy to make contact, and the sound of my bat hitting the ball was exhilarating. I left red-faced and glowing, and could feel the effects of the workout in my back and shoulders for a week afterwards.
- Take a friend. This way you get a break while the other person bats, plus it’s helpful to hear words of support from the sideline
- Wear lightweight clothing you can move freely in
- Your hands can get sore from the tight grip, so it’s worth using a pair of gloves to avoid blisters.
If you like low-impact stretching…try beginner’s ballet
The beginner’s ballet class at Auckland’s Tapac is perfect for ballet enthusiasts, female or male, over the age of 16. The one-hour class covered a selection of the basics including posture, bar work, first, second and fifth position as well as some graceful walking and simple dance combinations. We stood at the bar for the first 30 minutes, lifting onto our toes and running through some bending moves, while the second half of the class was spent going over a few dancing combinations. There was even time for a choreographed ballet walk. The ballet class aims to improve flexibility and coordination while also educating students about ballet language and culture.
Why you’ll like it:
The best thing about an adult dance class? It isn’t tainted by the insecurities of being a teenager. I enjoyed participating in a class with mature students, and felt accepted even though my dance moves were anything but graceful. It’s not the kind of exercise that leaves you hot and sweaty but I did feel stretched and elongated afterwards. Instructor MaryJane O’Reilly was supportive and encouraging, and I was at ease.
- Invest in a pair of ballet shoes. Bare feet are acceptable but your toes might get cold, and socks can be a little slippery
- You spend half the class looking at yourself in the mirror, so smile!
- The instructor will be interested in seeing your posture, so don’t hide under a loose T-shirt
Tried and tested by Features Writer Daisy Sillis