Silent disco fitness
Silent disco used to mean either a 3am rave at Glastonbury or a highly demonstrative PR stunt at a train station. Now it’s been reinvented as a fitness class with dance-based workouts using high-quality headphones (so the music doesn’t blare out across the park), and it’s popping up in city spaces around the country.
Matt Boyles runs a weekly class on Clapham Common in south London. Expect fitness moves choreographed to a delightfully cheesy playlist — during Britney’s Stronger, it’s press-ups for the first verse, a plank in the pre-chorus and then, for the chorus proper, everyone flips on to their backs for bicycle crunches.
‘The more choreographed the session, the more people stick to the beat and the harder they work out,’ says Matt. ‘The classes give people confidence. The headphones turn their focus inwards.’ HC
What we did so freely against a wall in the playground has become the epitome of fitness. The handstand (or ‘inversion’) is considered the pinnacle of achievement. Now there are classes based on this one move — and more.
Positions include the planche (a plank but with legs off the floor), the crocodile (balancing on one hand) and handstand press-ups, while you can also try balancing on your hands in different shapes. Don’t panic — there are beginner, intermediate and advanced options.
One new class in London is run by Sammy Dinneen, professional handstand artist and Olympic gymnast trainer. He says: ‘Being on your hands, you’re engaging stabiliser muscles all over your body.’ HC
Gym for the brain
Always meaning to sign up for that evening course but never have time? This autumn, the Open University has teamed up with David Lloyd Clubs to launch Brain Gym, an exercise class to help the time-poor among us learn and work out in tandem.
Lasting an hour, the alternative spin session combines high-intensity workout blasts with an online learning course taught lecture-style on a screen as you pedal (when we went along it was a money-management taster). There’s even a quiz at the end to see how much you’ve learnt.
While it may not burn as many calories as a standard workout class, you might just learn something — if not, at least there’s no time wasted. JB
For more info on Brain Gym classes, go to open.ac.uk