Boxing credits: Armoury Boxing Club
Boxing credits: Armoury Boxing Club
Picture supplied: Ashtanga
Picture supplied: Ashtanga
Have you heard the saying, summer bodies are made in winter?

While this remains debatable, one thing is for sure. In winter our bodies crave all the wrong foodstuffs mainly fatty foods and junk treats.

On the other hand, going to the gym can also be tricky at this time of the year, making weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight rather challenging.

For many early birds, getting out of a warm bed may be a struggle, while grey skies and gloomy weather after a long day at work is also a good excuse to skip gym and go home to eat a warm meal.

To add a little excitement to your gym routine you may want to change your normal routine and try other indoor exercises such as boxing, pilates, hot yoga or pole dancing.

Boxing

Steve Burke, owner of The Armoury Boxing Club in Cape Town, says fitness is a huge part of our daily lives and the benefits of keeping our bodies in shape are visible psychologically and physically. He recommends boxing as one of the stress relievers.

“Punching a bag and letting it out is hugely satisfying. When you are in the ring you have no time for anything, but you focus and forget about life worries. This makes the ring a sanctuary. Even more, boxing develops self-esteem, confidence and a positive mindset,” says Burke.

He also admits that the times of old prejudices against women boxing are long gone, and boxing fitness was becoming increasingly popular among this group.

Not only is boxing one of the best ways to stay in shape as it is a total-body workout, but this form of training brings everything together as it prepares you for the fight giving your body handling skills for the challenge.

Boxing can also be beneficial to the upper body. Boxers tend to have lean but muscular physiques and don't build bulk muscles, which can slow you down. The emphasis is on punching pads and bags that build strong arms.

For those who are looking for exercises to flatten the belly, boxing might be a good to start as it demands great fitness and a strong core, that allows you to do the tough training regime.

It also helps improve your body composition, and makes you lean. The exercise combines aerobic and anaerobic training for the optimal workout.

Pole dancing

It might look like it's a bit of occasional fun for a few half-dressed women, but world trends show that pole-dancing has a huge following, and is popularly used to keep active.

While traditionally done by women, men are also showing interest in pole fitness. It is a great artistic outlet and a way of improving self-esteem.

Pole dance is a combination of of gymnastics, dance and circus elements that not only delivers a rigorous workout, but improves fitness, tone and strength, with gymnasts and dancers turning to this dance for creativity and freedom of self-expression.

It also demands an incredible amount of co-ordination and balance – learning to control spins, executing tricks on the pole and performing a routine will strengthen muscles throughout your body, including your core.

Some of the classes available in pole dancing include spins, tricks, transitional moves and floor work. The classes range from beginner pole fitness to intermediate pole fitness, advanced pole fitness and exotic pole dance.

Pilates

Pilates is a form of exercise, developed by Joseph Pilates, which emphasises the balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility, and awareness to support efficient, graceful movement.

This form of exercise has become popular among fitness junkies who want to master the art of movement while keeping fit, says Katya Kinski from Pilates Academy South Africa.

She explains that pilates exercises focus on strengthening the body’s inner support system to attain maximum balance and alignment as well as correct muscle patterns.

This form of exercise trains the body, promoting strength and balanced muscle development as well as flexibility and increased range of motion for the joints.

There are different Pilates exercises and classes that you can take part in, from beginners to experienced classes. The classes include breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, scapular movement, and head and cervical spine placement.

The exercises develop core control by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle by emphasising proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and concentration on smooth movements.

Yoga

Yoga classes vary from hot yoga to power and relaxation yoga, depending on one’s fitness levels.

If you are interested in losing weight, then hot yoga is something you should consider.

According to Sandi Dekker from MyUTOPIA, a yoga studio at the V&A Waterfront, practising yoga in a heated room increases your pulse rate and metabolism, allowing your blood vessels to become more flexible and making your body burn more calories. For the more advanced yogis, power yoga should do.

This style of yoga is favoured by experienced yogis. It involves moving dynamically and continuously with your breath for a full-body workout. Relaxation yoga refers to the loosening of bodily and mental tension, which can help you relax while keeping fit.

The benefits of yoga are endless. For your body it helps brings physical strength, protects from injury and detoxifies the organs. Regular practice increases energy and flexibility, says Dekker.