And so it would appear that the British summertime is coming to an end. The familiar muted grey skies are making a comeback, and perhaps the motivation to finesse your ‘summer body’ has been and gone. And yet, despite this, you’re still keen to keep your physique in check. If the above speaks to you as acutely as it does to me, then this article is for you.
This year’s Instagram craze is here to stay. And while I’m an advocate for the ever-increasing popularity of ‘working out’, I do think that our favourite online platforms do overwhelmingly promote a gym membership as the sole solution to keeping fit. And, along with this can come the mentality that exercise is a chore; a task that you must complete, as opposed to a cathartic outlet, the companion to a healthy mind, and an activity that you should enjoy while you’re doing it, as well as reaping the rewards of it. Exercise… it’s not everybody’s idea of fun. But if a jog on the treadmill is your idea of hell (and kudos to you if it’s not) or you’re simply looking for a different fitness environment, here are a few alternative (or additional) ways in which you can keep your body moving.
The Mile End Climbing Wall is right on Queen Mary’s doorstep, and when I say right on our doorstep, I mean that you can walk there. As a keen climber myself, I can admit to being slightly biased; however, the calming and euphoric feeling that washes over you when on the wall is a universal one. The good thing about climbing is that it’s open to those of all experience; whether you’re a novice or a professional, the level of difficulty is all down to you. A session on the wall is also a full body workout – you can expect to work all muscle groups, including those muscles that you didn’t know you had! As a particularly methodical and calculated sport, climbing also does wonders for your mind; whether you’re contemplating your next move, or just trying your utmost not to fall smack on your backside, I can guarantee that you’ll have left all your pesky worries at the bottom of the wall, as the nature of the sport encourages a kind of active meditation. With climbing, you get two for the price of one – both a physical and mental workout and who doesn’t love a good deal? And if that didn’t get grab your interest, did I mention that they also run a groovy café? Climbing followed by a celebratory slice of cake – sounds epic to me. For more information, check out their website here. A couple of my other favourite London climbing centres include the uber-vibey Castle Climbing Centre near Finsbury Park or The Arch Climbing Wall near Bermondsey. Super cool.
The Stratford Olympic swimming pool is also just a stone’s throw away. Built for the 2012 London Olympics, the London Aquatics Centre benefits from multiple purpose-built pools – the most impressive of which is the not one, but two 50m swimming pools, and the 25m diving pool. If it’s a fitness fuelled workout that you’re after, or just an afternoon splashing about with your mates, the Stratford Olympic swimming pool is an awesome option. It’s a great way to get your blood pumping while also having fun. The fact that the centre was built to cater for the Olympics makes it an incredibly inspiring experience, as it allows you to tap into the very same energy as some of the world’s best swimmers – not too shabby!
And last but not least, if you prefer a ‘more serene, not sweat keen’ approach, check out Shoreditch’s Frame Fitness Studio, where they pride themselves on the myriad of classes that they offer. From yoga to barre, from dance to pilates, Frame Fitness has classes that will suit any shape, size, fitness level, or preference. And if training in a gym is your preferred style, Frame caters for individual and personal training too. What I like about Frame is that they incorporate a groovy atmosphere into their fitness environment, so their gym fosters a positive and light-hearted mood, as opposed to an intense and hostile setting. Frame also runs a sweet café, where you can refuel after a sweaty work-out sesh, and a small shop where you can stock up on fab fitness clothing, equipment and accessories of your dreams. You can test the waters with their pay-as-you-go option, or you can take the plunge and sign up for a membership. You can read more about their ethos, classes and subscriptions on their website here.
So go on, what are you waiting for? Give it a go. You might even enjoy it.