How to keep fit while travelling or as an expat! My 10 favourite ways to keep fit in London.
Shortly after arriving in the pretty city of London with its promise of amazing sites, gorgeous buildings, bustling streets, great bars & restaurants, idyllic parks, packed tubes, high rent and empty pockets; you will get told of the impending and inevitable ‘HEATHROW INJECTION’. Apparently, this is when all expats who make the move to London (in want for another phrase) ‘get fat’. My guess is this is due to the increased nights out due to the fact that it’s LONDON where everything is available at every moment, the lack of sunshine (equals lack of motivation) and lack of money (equals lack of gym membership- or access to only a very average one).
As I have now been in the UK for 6 months and can feel the kilos creeping on… it’s time to get my butt into gear and get back into focussing more on fitness. I’m not a fan of heading to the gym every day and running on a treadmill (no judgement for those who are- I wish I loved this) so I tend to veer towards some different kinds of exercise to keep me entertained (and forget I’m actually exercising). Luckily, living in London means that we have access to a plethora of odd activities to help us beat the Heathrow Injection.
So I’m not going to win any awards for coming up with this one, but it is one of the best ways to stay fit in London – incidental exercise while discovering the city at the same time! Although it is tempting to take the tube absolutely everywhere, once you start to realise how things all connect up, it will save you time and help you discover different areas of London. All the while helping to ward off those impending pounds…
2. Acro Yoga
Before I left for London I discovered Acro Yoga – the practise which combines yoga and acrobatics. So for those that nod off during a yoga class or aren’t quite into the ‘meditation’ or ‘spiritual’ side of yoga, Acro Yoga is for you! Don’t be intimidated, Acro Yoga looks a LOT harder than it is. It’s fun, you get to know people very quickly (that generally happens when you’re lying on top of them in a contorted position) and makes for some very Ista-worthy photos! There are classes at Triyoga once a week and at varying yoga studios throughout London. I’ve found one class that focusses on acro and handstands that will set you back £75 for a 6 week workshop. You can also find general Acro Yoga classes around the city for £20 per class.
An old favourite that you can find in pretty much any major city. Dig deep back to your high school sport days and find a team to join. Facebook expat groups are always looking for extra players and Go Mammoth is the place to go to start up your team. It costs less than £50 for 8 weeks, and we all know netball is a great sport for keeping your fitness levels up.
4. Body Pump Classes
My favourite of the ‘Les Mills’ fitness classes is Body Pump. Combining weights with squats, presses, lifts and curls all set to music. I love that it targets the whole body and you can continually up your weights to suit your body. The best thing about Body Pump is that is is available at most gyms around London (and the world).
Along the same lines as walking your way around London- cycling is another way to keep fit and see the city. If you’re not game enough to take on the streets of London (I’m with you there) stick to all the pretty parks this city has to offer. I’m planning to work my way through them over the next few years, and hopefully every day I try will be as perfect as this one.
6. Rock Climbing
One that has become a favourite with my siblings and I, is taking on the indoor climbing walls. I love the competition with yourself to finish a harder climb, and the fact that your whole body is in pain the day after, but you were having too much fun to remember you’re actually exercising. Plus, the added bonus of the padded mats for impromptu amateur acrobatics when you’re too tired to climb any more. There are plenty of climbing spots in London, the one we tried was The Arch Climbing Wall – would definitely recommend.
7. Rave Class
This is one I have yet to try, however it sounds amazing. Set in a darkened room, you are given two glow sticks on a string at the start of your class. Dance and rave moves set to music, while flinging around your fluorescent glow sticks is definitely sure to make you forget that you’re exercising (or at a gym at all for that matter). Classes can be found at Gym Box throughout London.
8. Dance Class
Joining an adult dance class is likely to bring back memories of those days years ago when you were just a little tot clapping along to The Spice Girls while your dance teacher tried desperately to form some kind of cohesive movement within the class (just me?). There are plenty of beginners adult dance classes in London of every kind of dance imaginable. My sister and I tried out a contemporary class which was amazing and hilarious (especially watching two very uncoordinated girls with no rhythm attempt to crump..). It’s just a bit of fun, and you are guaranteed to feel amazing after it.
9. Anti Gravity Yoga
Anti Gravity Yoga (or Aerial Yoga) is yoga poses completed in the air, with the help of a silk hammock. Its a total body work out, plus you get the added bonus of hanging upside down for half the class, and lying tucked up in a hammock cocoon for shavasana (corspe pose). To find classes throughout the UK head to Anti Gravity Yoga.
10. Aerial Trapeze
Only in London would Trapeze be an easily found and accessible class choice. This is another one I am yet to try – but is definitely on my to do list. I can’t think of much more thrilling or out of my comfort zone than flying from one swing to another in the middle of my new city. Flying Trapeze classes can be found at Flying Fantastic.