We all intend to exercise more, but for most people leading busy lives, finding time for gym exercises and paying for membership or classes can be a burden.
Here, we look at some really effective gym exercises to see what's really worth paying for (and what isn't).
Jump Rope (or skipping rope, as it's traditionally known) is one of the best gym exercises of all time. Why? It's cheap (a skipping rope can easily be purchased at popular online retailers for less than £5), it doesn't take up much room and you don't even have to be in a gym to do it. It's great intensive exercise for cardiovascular health, and fantastic at burning calories: you'd have to run a mile in 8 minutes to burn off more energy than you would jumping rope for 15-20 minutes. It's perfect for adults and children alike.
With classes available just about everywhere, and aimed at a whole range of ages and abilities, martial arts are a great choice when it comes to gym exercises. Two of the key areas of focus in many martial arts are discipline and respect, so they make a great experience for kids, as they aim to instil discipline in the mind as well as the body. For adults, martial arts develop the concentration, help to create a stronger body, and improve co-ordination. For women, martial arts have the advantages of improving confidence and allowing you to defend yourself without the use of weapons. Karate is an extremely popular martial arts option nationwide and requires little more than a white robe and good attitude to begin, but for advice on other martial arts, check out this WikiHow guide.
Investing in a Personal Training Session
The Huffington Post advises this for beginners, and it's not a bad a idea. Although it might seem like a waste of money, having a personal training session every six weeks will help your tailor and focus your goals, especially at the beginning. A trainer is also best placed to give you reassurance and advice for your gym exercises.
Everyone finds this one hard, but it's great at building core strength, so it's often a feature of Pilates classes. Unlike a lot of gym exercises, "the plank" strengthens both the abs and the back, and gets you stronger for push-ups, which require a lot of endurance. Make sure you're doing it properly though or you'll be wasting your time: there's a great how-to guide written by a doctor here.
Most gyms will offer a Pilates class. Unlike yoga, a Pilates class will leave you sweating, and lets you get strong as you're working with your own weight. Pilates is beloved by celebrities and for good reason: not only does it improve posture and core strength, but done regularly it improves back pain and gives you great abs. The NHS also recommends it for stress and tension relief, and like martial arts classes, keeping to a regular session has social benefits too.
Whichever gym exercises you decide to pursue for yourself or your children, remember that consistency is key. A great exercise routine will give psychological as well as physical benefits, and a class will allow you to mix with others with similar goals too.