Blog Post Archives - YOUR Leisure

Category Archives for Blog Post

You v Train: Railway Safety

Your Leisure Community has received a grant of nearly £20,000 from National Grid to support our Summer delivery of the "You v Train" project. Our community coaches will be working with local organisations across Thanet over the Summer and Autumn to educate children around railway safety and the dangers of going onto the tracks, combining this with engaging them with physical activity.

We are proud to be delivering this important project and want to ensure that we reach as many children and young people as possible, helping to keep them safe.

If you would like our community coaches to come to your club, school or event to deliver the You v Train project then contact
hannah.alexandrou@yourleisure.uk.com to discuss availability and costs.

National Grid awarded Your Leisure community the funding due to our proximity to the Richborough connection, a brand new 400kv overhead line between Richmond and Canterbury. The funding from National Grid has been instrumental in supporting the cost of delivering this project to local children and young people.

Active Workplace Team Challenge

Calling local businesses! Time to mobilize your team! Your Leisure invites you to take part in their Active Workplace Team Challenge throughout September & October.

The Active Workplace Team Challenge is all about reconnecting with your colleagues and keeping active. Whether it's a walk to/from work, an exercise class at your local gym, a lunchtime run, a bike ride at the weekend, a swim in your local pool, a spot of gardening, or even housework - all types of activity will count towards this team activity challenge.

In the spirit of healthy competition, there will be a leader board (and prizes) for the most Active Workplace across Thanet and Deal (an average total will be taken so smaller workplaces are not penalised), teams can be made up of 3-200 people.

To get involved with this challenge just click on the following link and follow some simple steps ONLINE HERE 

If you have any questions please email wellbeing@yourleisure.uk.com

HOW MUCH WILL EXERCISE AFFECT YOUR WEIGHT?

By Emma Hogan for Fit Planet

If you’re starting a new exercise regime with visions of dramatically dropping dress sizes, we don’t want you to be disappointed. So here’s the truth: adding exercise to your life won’t lead to a sudden shedding of pounds – but that doesn't mean exercise won’t help you achieve your weight loss goals. You simply need to have realistic expectations, while celebrating the many and varied ways that exercise will change your body and your life.

Let’s do an experiment. Let’s take 131 sedentary, overweight university students and split them into two groups. Both groups keep their diets the same. Group One maintains their sedentary lifestyle. Group Two add exercise to their weekly routine for 16 months. This consists of mainly walking and jogging, with the option of doing some cycling and elliptical training. They start with 20-minute sessions, five days a week, gradually building the duration of each session over six months until they complete 45-minute sessions. They also progressively increase intensity from 60 percent of their maximum heart rate at the start, to 75 percent at the six-month mark. This added exercise results in Group Two burning upwards of 400 calories per session, that’s 2000 extra calories across a week for a total of 69 weeks.

You heard that right: 2000 extra calories expended each week for 69 weeks. We won’t even recognize them by the end of the study!

Well, not so fast. Although we may anticipate that burning more calories through exercise will result in significant weight loss for sedentary overweight individuals, unfortunately that’s not the case.

I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that this study has actually been done. During this Midwest Exercise Trial (named after the participants who were from Midwest Universities) 74 out of the 131 study participants made it to the end: 33 in the Group One control group and 41 in the Group Two exercise group. Those who remained in the exercise group did a great job of adhering to their new routine – they attended 90 percent of the prescribed sessions. Calorie expenditure was monitored closely in each session, with the guys burning around 670 calories and the girls around 440 (the guys were heavier, which meant they had to work a bit harder on the treadmill). Both males and females improved their aerobic fitness (a 20 percent increase for guys and 16 percent for girls).

At the end of the study they had lost some body fat – an average of 2.9kg for the males and 4.4kg in the female group (6.4 and 10 pounds). But weight loss was a different story. The guys lost a paltry average of 5.2 kilograms (11.4 pounds) and the girls lost no weight. None. Zero!

I know the question you’re screaming to be answered: “If they burnt upwards of 2000 extra calories per week for 16 months without changing their diet, what did it do if it didn’t reduce their body mass?”

The answer to that million-dollar question all comes down to something called ‘constrained daily energy’. This theory, described by Herman Pontzer, in his fabulous book Burn, illustrates that as we evolved in our hunter gatherer past, we became experts at controlling how much energy we spend on a daily basis – meaning we do everything we can to keep it constant.

Being a hunter gatherer, as you can imagine, demands a very active lifestyle. For example, in the Hadza tribe in Tanzania, men will typically walk around 8.5 miles a day in search of game, while women will walk around 5 miles. In order to survive that lifestyle, the body must be able to control energy output so that we don’t overspend in our search for calories from food. Unfortunately for us, this can work against us during exercise.

To illustrate how entrenched this constrained energy effect is, Lara Dugas and colleagues compared daily energy expenditure of people who have sedentary occupations in industrialized countries with more active people who live in developing countries. Once the measures were controlled for body weight (the heavier you are the more energy you burn), the study found the average office worker in New York burned the same amount as an active individual in Nigeria or a hunter gatherer in Tanzania. We conserve energy as if our life depends on it, because for a long time it did.

This remarkable ability to control our energy output is what helps our body function consistently, but it is also what can make exercise frustratingly ineffective when it comes to shedding weight.

Quite simply, the most effective approach for weight loss is to balance energy usage with diet. Reducing the amount of calories we ingest and improving the quality of food we eat has far greater effect on our body mass than exercise alone.

Please hear me on this – exercise is REALLY good for you! I exercise six days a week and will continue to do so because it provides so many physical, mental and emotional benefits. And, although exercise doesn’t significantly alter the amount of energy you burn each day, it drastically changes the way you spend your calories.

When energy is scarce – like when we burn extra during exercise – non-essential metabolic processes reduce. The first of these is inflammation. Acute bursts of inflammation are an essential part of our repair and immunity response. However, prolonged chronic inflammatory responses contribute to allergies, arthritis, arterial diseases and other metabolic disorders. Exercise means we have less energy to spend on overzealous, harmful inflammatory processes and that is a huge win.

Secondly, spending energy on exercise dampens overactive stress responses. Again – a short burst of stress hormones during a crisis is good, but prolonged over production is harmful. Some reproductive hormonal activity can also be suppressed. That might not sound like a good idea – but too much activity in these areas is thought to contribute to reproductive cancers such as prostate and breast cancer.

Thirdly, numerous investigations have demonstrated that being sedentary causes us significant harm. The amount of time we spend sitting each day is a strong predictor of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and a range of other serious health problems. Although exercise alone may not result in significant weight loss, it definitely reduces the impact of our sedentary lifestyles.

And finally, people who lose weight through dieting are far more likely to keep it off if they exercise. One study on obese policemen assigned participants to dietary restrictions alone or diet plus exercise for two months. At the end of the study there was no difference in the amount of weight lost across the groups (as we should now expect). But once the intervention was over, only those who exercised maintained their weight loss.

We know weight loss is one of the main reasons people take action to improve their fitness. It’s understandable, for many years we’ve been led to believe that simply adding exercise is the secret to shedding those unwanted pounds. But the evidence doesn't really support this.

There’s no doubt that a desire to lose weight can be a great initial motivator, but if success is measured by what’s happening on the scale it is easy for motivation to quickly wane. This is backed up by new findings* showing that when weight loss is the primary motivator we are less likely to stick with exercise but when enjoyment is the key motivator we exercise more often and for a longer term. With this in mind, it’s important that we seek exercise options that we enjoy, and have realistic expectations and celebrate the real benefits and changes to our bodies and lives due to exercise. These remarkable benefits can be much more life-changing than shedding a few pounds.

IN A NUTSHELL:

The most effective way to lose weight is to balance energy usage with diet
Exercise helps us maintain long-term weight loss
If you start exercising to lose weight you will soon discover many other benefits
Exercise can reduce harmful inflammatory responses (like allergies, arthritis, arterial diseases)
Exercise dampens overactive stress responses, and lessens the risk of prostate and breast cancer
Exercise reduces sedentary living and its associated serious health issues (heart disease, diabetes, cancer)
Exercise alleviates stress and helps us become mentally stronger and more resilient
And of course, exercise makes us fit, strong, agile and able.

*Motivational drivers of exercise: an analysis of the 2018 Global Consumer Survey (Hastings, Gottschall and Lee)

GET INTO THE GROOVE AND LIVE BETTER WITH YOUR LEISURE, JOIN TODAY! 

With a Live Better GROOVE membership, you can enjoy a wide range of our own classes, plus world-class Group-Ex experiences designed by Les Mills, such as RPM, BODYCOMBAT, BODYBALANCE, BODYPUMP and more, and you can take advantage of our virtual classes. All while being able to book classes online up to 8 days in advance 

Plus get more with a Your Leisure Membership and achieve all your health and fitness goals and have some fun while doing it. Live Better GROOVE also gives you some other great benefits: 

✅ Unlimited Swimming and gym use* 

✅ Online Booking 8 days in advance 

✅ Option to use the FeelGood Factory** 

✅ 10% Discount on treatments at Your Spa, Ramsgate 

So, get into the GROOVE and JOIN ONLINE HERE 

Want to be able to book the most popular classes 14 days in advance and never miss out? Try our Live Better GROOVE PLUS Membership. JOIN ONLINE HERE

Non-members can sign up for a FREE Live Better GATEWAY membership to book classes on a Pay-As-You-Go basis (online booking 5 days in advance). Join Online HERE

Support: Call 03333 660661 or email memberships@yourleisure.uk.com and an expert will be able to help. Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm   

*Unlimited swimming during public sessions and gym during centre opening hours

**FeelGood Factory at Hartsdown and Ramsgate Leisure Centres 

This piece originally appeared at lesmills.com.

6 SCIENCE-BACKED WAYS TO SWEAT AWAY YOUR STRESSES

By Emma Hogan for Fit Planet

In a world where stress, uncertainty and change are more prevalent than ever, nurturing our mental wellness has become imperative. Follow these simple steps to keep your mind, muscles, and mood in peak condition.

Regular exercise does so much more than building strong lean muscles and a healthy heart – it offers a wealth of “above-the-neck” benefits too. Exercise has been linked to everything from boosting brain power and helping control addiction, to inspiring creativity and reducing stress. So how do you get the most mental benefit from your workouts?

#1 Find your sweet spot – moderation is key

You don’t need to be a hardcore exerciser to reap the rewards. Experts say a moderate approach with shorter workouts will have the most profound effect on your mental wellbeing. One study of 1.2 million US adults found that people who exercise for 45-minute sessions enjoy better mental health than those who sweat it out during marathon workouts. The research also showed that three to five days of exercise a week was the sweet spot, giving people a bigger reduction in poor mental health days than those who didn’t exercise at all, as well as those who worked out over five times a week.

Scientists exploring how exercise eases negativity recommend four aerobic exercise sessions a week to reap significant psychological benefits, such as reduced depression and feelings of hostility. And don’t worry if high-energy aerobic training isn’t your thing – low impact aerobic activity such as walking is also known to lower stress and anxiety levels.

#2 Know that every little bit counts

Adding as little as 20 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise to your morning routine is shown to provide an immediate mood boost. Not only will it quickly spark an endorphin high, but the positive effects can last up to 12 hours. And it’s not just cardio exercise that brings joy. After evaluating 23 published studies researchers established all manner of exercise is consistently linked to happiness. They found that as little as 10 minutes of physical exercise per week can result in increased levels of happiness. Those who accumulated at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days were 30 percent more likely to report being ‘happy’ than those who didn’t get their fitness fix. And the mood-enhancing benefits are long-lasting – they can still be in your system for weeks following your exercise!

#3 Work out with others

Researchers identified that some types of exercise are superior when it comes to providing mental health benefits. Team sports seem to be the winner, followed by cycle-based exercise and then aerobics-based workouts at the gym. These top three suggest that, when it comes to mental health benefits, group-based activities are preferable. This is backed up by a 12-week study showing those who did group workouts (in this case LES MILLS CORE) scored significantly higher in terms of stress-reduction and physical, mental, and emotional quality of life compared to those people who worked out alone. And a 2019 study revealed that exercisers experience increased levels of individual enjoyment, exertion and satisfaction as a result of group exercise. You can read more about how working out with others works wonders here.

#4 Do yoga – and do it before bedtime

Yoga-based exercise is highly regarded as a great mood booster, and a recent study indicates that yoga, specifically the mindful breathing associated with it, can be used to ease the symptoms of depression. If you want to maximize the bliss-inducing benefits of yoga, experts recommend you do it just before bed. A recent study reveals a pre-slumber stretching and meditation session can have a significant impact on your sleep quality, boost positive feelings, and enhance recovery from mental as well as physical stress. Best of all, the benefits kick in fast. The study participants completed a 20-30 minute sequence of stretches and 10-minute meditation (based on the BODYBALANCE/BODYFLOW® yoga program) three evenings a week for just two weeks. After just six short sessions, those who did the evening yoga reported considerable changes across every variable – improved HRV, sleep quality, confidence, motivation, and reduced anxiety, tension, and sadness.

#5 Lift weights – and don’t focus on how heavy they are

Many scientists believe lifting weights can have a similar effect to antidepressant medications or psychotherapy. And you don’t need to lift heavy. A recent analysis shows the mental health benefits kick in regardless whether you’re pushing massive chunks of iron overhead or lifting the lightest weights in the gym. These findings suggest it’s not about the strength you build, but the feeling of accomplishment and confidence that goes hand-in-hand with resistance training.  And it’s not just depressive symptoms affected, as another study shows weightlifting can alleviate symptoms of anxiety too. If you’re not sure where to start, experts recommend you try resistance exercises like squats, lunges and planks, as these exercises all strengthen the core and promote improved posture – and better posture is linked to a better mood.

#6 Train your mind too
Neurobiological studies suggest mindfulness practices can affect the plasticity of brain structure and functioning. When this happens, the main neurocognitive mechanisms affected include emotional regulation, self-awareness, and attention control. Research indicates mindfulness meditation encourages our minds to operate less reactively, helping us function more seamlessly when emotions are activated. Interestingly, studies show those who partake in this type of meditation have greater compassion – for others and themselves.

According to Dr. Jacob Meyer – an expert in exercise for the treatment of mental health conditions – mindfulness and meditation practices bring another perk to the table. “Mindfulness can foster a more accurate perception of your level of physical activity,” he says, and this can lead you to make better choices for both your physical and mental health. You can read more about the power of mindfulness and muscle here.

Lastly, be aware of what’s happening inside. When we exercise, our bodies release a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) that improves the health of our brain cells. As neuroscientist Maurice Curtis explains, “The general principle at play is that when you exercise, you’re much more likely to cause the brain to make new brain cells.” And that’s a good thing. “The brain is the only organ you can’t overtax, and you’re not going to have a meltdown if you start challenging your grey matter by introducing new ways of moving.” If you just do the same thing every day, you’ll probably get good at that, but there will be aspects of life you’re just not experiencing, so keep exercising and keep up the variety.

Our physical and mental health are intertwined – so staying active is one of the fundamental ways we maintain emotional and cognitive resilience.

DESTRESS AND FIND YOUR GROOVE WITH YOUR LEISURE, JOIN TODAY! 

With a Live Better GROOVE membership, you can enjoy a wide range of our own classes, plus world-class Group-Ex experiences designed by Les Mills, such as RPM, BODYCOMBAT, BODYBALANCE, BODYPUMP and more, and you can take advantage of our virtual classes. All while being able to book classes online up to 8 days in advance 

Plus get more with a Your Leisure Membership and achieve all your health and fitness goals and have some fun while doing it. Live Better GROOVE also gives you some other great benefits: 

✅ Unlimited Swimming and gym use* 

✅ Online Booking 8 days in advance 

✅ Option to use the FeelGood Factory** 

✅ 10% Discount on treatments at Your Spa, Ramsgate 

So, get into the GROOVE and JOIN ONLINE HERE 

Want to be able to book the most popular classes 14 days in advance and never miss out? Try our Live Better GROOVE PLUS Membership. JOIN ONLINE HERE

Non-members can sign up for a FREE Live Better GATEWAY membership to book classes on a Pay-As-You-Go basis (online booking 5 days in advance). Join Online HERE

Support: Call 03333 660661 or email memberships@yourleisure.uk.com and an expert will be able to help. Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm   

*Unlimited swimming during public sessions and gym during centre opening hours

**FeelGood Factory at Hartsdown and Ramsgate Leisure Centres 

This piece originally appeared at lesmills.com.

BREATHE YOUR WAY TO IMPROVED PERFORMANCE – ON EVERY LEVEL

By Emma Hogan for Fit Planet

Fraser Beck was just 13 when he discovered the powerful effects of breath training. Now, practicing and teaching breathwork every day, he says it is so life-changing it cannot be ignored – and he’s encouraging everyone to tap into the benefits.

Read on and you’ll discover:

  • Why breathing is the epicenter of human function
  • How breath training can ease stress and tension
  • How breath training can boost fitness and athletic performance
  • Top tips for introducing breath training into your life
  • Why this ancient forgotten practice is primed to become part of everyday life

Six weeks ago I thought breath training was slightly hippy, slightly crazy, and basically just intense sessions of huffing and puffing. It was not my cup of tea. But that was before I met Fraser Beck. After just one 30-minute introductory breathwork session and a quick chat with this holistic health guru, my interest in breath training has been seriously piqued. Here’s what he had to say …

What is breathwork?

“I like to call it breath training because it really is a form of exercise. It’s all about training the diaphragm, which is the center of the human organism. Breathing controls and regulates every biological process in the body, so the diaphragm really is the most important musculotendinous unit to train. For a long time, the majority of people training the physical body have been focused on external aesthetic, as opposed to the true functionality of their bodies.

Breathing is the epicenter of human function … Breathing controls and regulates every biological process in the body, so the diaphragm really is the most important musculotendinous unit to train.

There are many different ways to train the breath. They can sound and look a bit unorthodox and weird, but it is a very ancient and effective practice. I believe that within the next 3-5 years, breathing will be much more institutionalized within every aspect of our society. Our breath is the epicenter of our physical, mental/emotional, social and spiritual health, it really does affect every dimension of our being, so it makes sense to pay more attention to it.”

You were just 13 when you discovered the power of your own breath?

“I was diagnosed with a degenerative spinal disorder called Scheuermann's Disease at 13. It sucked. I googled it and all I could see were all sorts of Hunchback of Notre Dame kind of images, which was awful. But the hardest part was how it affected my sports performance; rugby and basketball. I already had my eye on becoming a professional athlete. I knew I had the will to win, but unfortunately, as much as I trained, the anatomical position of my spine was letting me down. I was training and doing my best to get better, but biomechanically I was already at a loss.

My musculoskeletal specialist gave me a few breathing exercises to practice that related to developmental kinesiology (which is how we as infants naturally learn to breathe and move). All of a sudden, after ten months of being in relatively severe back pain, the pain stopped and I was very clear mentally. I was still quite young so I didn't fully understand, but the awareness and the clarity of mind that I experienced once I started breathing more efficiently was amazing. And with the physical back pain gone I could keep playing the sports I loved.”

But it wasn't until later in your teens that breath training became part of your daily life?

"I was really into basketball, on the fringe of playing semi-professional in New Zealand, and that was my goal. And then I ruptured my ACL and it just flipped everything upside down. It got me questioning my purpose. And I got obsessed with physiology. I started focusing on how do you align and stabilize the ankle, the knee and the hip? Then how does that relate to a neutral, optimal posture of the spine? And finally, how does that relate to the pressure you create with a full breath? That's when I became fascinated with breathing. I also started exploring the science of fascia (connective tissue) which I believe, together with breathing, will lead to a paradigm shift within the current biochemical-pharmaceutical medical model.”

How did you get started?

“I began just focusing on what I could feel. Exploring how much I could exhale, and then focusing on how I could control and manipulate different parts of my breath. Trying to train a breath-hold after full exhalation to become more physiologically efficient. Now, I generally start each morning with 10-15 minutes of focused breath. I'll play around with just taking some full breaths, maybe in and out of the nose, maybe in and out the mouth, just practicing gaining that interoceptive awareness, which is your ability to sense and understand what is happening on the inside of your body.”

So what changes once you have increased awareness of your breath?

“There’s nothing that breathing doesn't affect! Breathing controls your sleep quality, your ability to digest, it controls circulation, posture, motivation, strength and mobility … it is everything. By learning how to fully expand and compress the body, we ensure that energy in the body can continue to flow. And that is the essence that maintains your life force and can help prevent chronic disease.”

One of the biggest benefits of cultivating a regular breath practice is that we learn how to balance our nervous system, which helps us regulate every other vital function in the body.

Does breathwork reduce stress and tension?

"Absolutely! One of the biggest benefits of cultivating a regular breath practice is that we learn how to balance our nervous system, which helps us regulate every other vital function in the body. When we become overly stressed or tense, the sympathetic branch of our autonomic nervous system is turned on. Contrastingly, when we’re in a state of rest, relaxation and digestion, it’s our parasympathetic nervous system that is activated.

The vagus nerve is the longest in the autonomic nervous system, connecting the brain to the heart, lungs and gut (microbiome). When we take long exhalations we strengthen or tone the vagus nerve. This strengthening also happens when we laugh, hum, meditate, and experience love and joy.

Breath training also affects the tension and electrical resistance (ohms) of your skin, this is known as your basal skin resistance (or electrodermal activity, or galvanic skin response), and it's basically a measure of how stressed you are. Imagine you have a needle and you’re going to pierce it through the skin. If someone is really stressed and tired, the tension in every layer of their body is going to be hard to go through. With continued breath practice, you start to decrease this basal skin resistance – you decrease the tension in the body. And when you get this deep relaxation through every layer of your body, it allows your neurology to work more optimally.”

You say breath training creates more efficient physiology?

“When you hold your breath, you're putting yourself in the position where your body has a lack of oxygen, and then that creates an adaptation within the molecular cellular component of your body. It is effectively training carbon dioxide tolerance. Over time you start to get more efficient at using the oxygen you have. And, as we learn to take a full breath, we learn what fully relaxing every layer of connective tissue (fascia) in the body feels like. It presents a beautiful yin-yang duality within the practice of breathing. I always say, any muscle you can’t consciously relax is just as good as any muscle you can’t consciously contract.”

It makes your diaphragm bigger, stronger and more endurant. This allows you to be biomechanically more efficient when you run, jump or lift.

How can breath training promote athletic performance?

“The diaphragm is 70 percent connective tissue and 30 percent muscle. Many people realize that breathing is important and the diaphragm is our main apparatus of respiration, however, the diaphragm is also a dynamic musculoskeletal stabilizer of the entire body system. When you learn to fully inhale it makes your diaphragm bigger, stronger and more endurant. This allows you to be biomechanically more efficient when you run, jump or lift.

And vice versa, your ability to fully exhale to maximal compression relates to nerve conduction, so you can develop more interoceptive awareness, you can move faster and more efficiently.

I do everything from yoga to powerlifting, snowboarding and basketball, and breathing is the real game-changer across them all. Recently, I stopped doing yoga for about five months and focused on more intensive breathwork. When I got back into the yoga room, I was able to get into postures that I'd never done before. The breathwork made it happen.”

Is it true that the more you breathe in, the more potential you have to be fitter?

"Yes, but it is contextual! Breathing and fitness are interconnected, but they are their own things. Someone could be really fit, but not that efficient of a breather. But if someone is an efficient breather it can really help promote their fitness.

The volume of breath that you breathe in and out at rest can be different from individual to individual. Some might inhale and exhale 500mls of oxygen, but for others, it might be just 250mls. Although that seems quite small, if we do it 25,000 times a day it adds up. And that person who breathes in more has a basal metabolism that's much higher than the one who is shallow breathing.

Eighty percent of your fat metabolism is dependent on how much carbon dioxide you’re exhaling. So when you’re doing an intense workout and you think you’re losing weight because you’re sweating, it’s actually because you’re breathing it out.”

Someone could be really fit, but not that efficient of a breather. But if someone   is an efficient breather it can really help promote their fitness.

Read more about how fat leaves your body via your lungs here.

With so many breath techniques and options to choose from, what’s your top tip for someone just starting out?

“Just be curious. Treat it as a fun exploration of your body and find out what your body is capable of. Some breathwork can be quite intensive, where people are breathing intensively to create an out-of-body experience. While this does have its place, you don’t necessarily have to do that. Just doing a small 10- to 15-minute practice where you take some time to slow your mind and connect with what you feel is enough. Do it regularly and it is going to really add up and the benefits will compound in the long term.”

When should you do breathwork?

“The best thing about breathing is that you can do it any time, and the more you connect to your breath consciously the better. You could start with energizing breathing sessions in the morning and do more depressurizing, relaxing techniques in the evening. But there is no right or wrong, just do whatever works for you.”

What do you say to someone who is still not sold on the idea of breath training?

"Be open-minded and curious enough to try it. It just makes sense. Breathing is the epicenter of human function and influences every dimension of our health and Hauora (which is the Maori conceptualization of health and wellbeing in four dimensions; physical, mental/emotional, social, spiritual). Interestingly, in Latin, spiritus, where the word spirit comes from, means breath. So you are breathing your spirit into your body.

I believe that science will soon recognize the spiritual benefits and the Western pharmaceutical medical paradigm will shift – breath work will become a big feature in the future of medicine.”

TRY BODYBALANCE or TAI-CHI WITH YOUR LEISURE, JOIN TODAY AND GET INTO THE GROOVE! 

With a Live Better GROOVE membership, you can enjoy a wide range of our own classes, plus world-class Group-Ex experiences designed by Les Mills, such as RPM, BODYCOMBAT, BODYBALANCE, BODYPUMP and more, and you can take advantage of our virtual classes. All while being able to book classes online up to 8 days in advance 

Plus get more with a Your Leisure Membership and achieve all your health and fitness goals and have some fun while doing it. Live Better GROOVE also gives you some other great benefits: 

✅ Unlimited Swimming and gym use* 

✅ Online Booking 8 days in advance 

✅ Option to use the FeelGood Factory** 

✅ 10% Discount on treatments at Your Spa, Ramsgate 

So, get into the GROOVE and JOIN ONLINE HERE 

Want to be able to book the most popular classes 14 days in advance and never miss out? Try our Live Better GROOVE PLUS Membership. JOIN ONLINE HERE

Non-members can sign up for a FREE Live Better GATEWAY membership to book classes on a Pay-As-You-Go basis (online booking 5 days in advance). Join Online HERE

Support: Call 03333 660661 or email memberships@yourleisure.uk.com and an expert will be able to help. Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm   

*Unlimited swimming during public sessions and gym during centre opening hours

**FeelGood Factory at Hartsdown and Ramsgate Leisure Centres 

This piece originally appeared at lesmills.com.

THREE SIMPLE SECRETS FOR FORMING A FITNESS HABIT

By Sarah Shortt  

So you’ve made your fitness resolutions and scheduled in your gym sessions … but now life is getting in the way. Here’s the proven formula for beating those exercise procrastination blues.

When it comes to exercise there are two extremes: those who know they should be exercising but don’t really want to – and those who make exercise an integral part of everyday life. The majority of us sit somewhere in the middle.

For most of us, the biggest secret to getting in shape and staying fit for life is getting the right fitness motivation. We need to start exercising not because we have to, but because we want to.

Cementing the fitness habit is about creating the shift from exercising because you have to – to exercising because you want to.

Research has shown that, when it comes to establishing the fitness habit for the long haul, there are three key factors that will influence your motivation and transform you into one of those people who just can’t wait to exercise.

#1 TAKE CONTROL

Take steps to actively manage both the duration and intensity of your training. Frequency before intensity is paramount. When you take up exercise there’s a temptation to go hell for leather from the start. In fact, you are much more likely to stick with it if you stay within your capabilities and don’t let anyone push you too hard. Just getting into the habit is the most important thing.

#2 CHOOSE THINGS YOU CAN DO AND THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD

Competence relates to how confident you feel in your ability to complete the exercise – and this is a key factor in helping you achieve your exercise goals. If you feel something is outside your physical capabilities – or just isn’t you – you are likely to feel demoralized and give up at the first hurdle. It’s important to keep your confidence high when you start exercising, and you can do this by celebrating the immediate wins. Focus on the gains that occur as soon as you become active: increased energy levels, feeling less stressed, improved quality of sleep, and that endorphin buzz you experience immediately after a workout.

#3 KEEP IT SOCIAL

Exercising with other people can make everything so much easier – whether it’s with a personal trainer, your friend, or attending a group fitness class. Firstly, there’s the commitment to someone else – you’re far more likely to ditch your workout when it’s only yourself you’re letting down. Then there are the positive social aspects. In group fitness classes we see the “group effect” – that sense of cohesion that occurs when everyone is moving at the same time. When you feel connected to others during your workout, it will positively boost your results and it makes it so much easier to build up the exercise habit.

So there you have it. Take these three exercise and motivation tips and apply them to your fitness journey, and we promise that in no time at all, you will be exercising, not because you know you should, but because you can’t imagine life without it.

GET SOCIAL WITH YOUR LEISURE, JOIN TODAY AND GET INTO THE GROOVE! 

With a Live Better GROOVE membership, you can enjoy a wide range of our own classes, plus world-class Group-Ex experiences designed by Les Mills, such as RPM, BODYCOMBAT, BODYBALANCE, BODYPUMP and more, and you can take advantage of our virtual classes. All while being able to book classes online up to 8 days in advance 

Plus get more with a Your Leisure Membership and achieve all your health and fitness goals and have some fun while doing it. Live Better GROOVE also gives you some other great benefits: 

✅ Unlimited Swimming and gym use* 

✅ Online Booking 8 days in advance 

✅ Option to use the FeelGood Factory** 

✅ 10% Discount on treatments at Your Spa, Ramsgate 

So, get into the GROOVE and JOIN ONLINE HERE 

Want to be able to book the most popular classes 14 days in advance and never miss out? Try our Live Better GROOVE PLUS Membership. JOIN ONLINE HERE

Non-members can sign up for a FREE Live Better GATEWAY membership to book classes on a Pay-As-You-Go basis (online booking 5 days in advance). Join Online HERE

Support: Call 03333 660661 or email memberships@yourleisure.uk.com and an expert will be able to help. Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm   

*Unlimited swimming during public sessions and gym during centre opening hours

**FeelGood Factory at Hartsdown and Ramsgate Leisure Centres 

This piece originally appeared at lesmills.com.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BODYBALANCE

By Emma Hogan 

A motivating blend of Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates, BODYBALANCE will improve your mind, your body and your life.

WHY DOES BODYBALANCE WORK?

BODYBALANCE features a scientifically-backed combination of simple yoga moves, with some elements of Tai Chi and Pilates. The moves are carefully curated to strengthen your entire body and increase flexibility, and it’s all set to the perfect music to unwind to – so it’s easy to forget that you’re challenging your body and changing it for the better.

HOW MANY CALORIES DO YOU BURN DOING BODYBALANCE?

During BODYBALANCE the focus is on improving functional core strength, enhancing joint mobility and creating a sense of wellbeing and calm, not calorie-burn. So we suggest you forget about burning calories and instead embrace the increased flexibility, improved strength and reduced stress that BODYBALANCE brings.

WHAT EXERCISES DO YOU DO DURING BODYBALANCE?

BODYBALANCE classes begin with a Tai Chi-inspired warm up, where a focus on breathing sets you up for what is to come – an invigorating series of sun salutations, warrior sequences, hip openers, twists, and some Pilates-inspired core training. The workout closes with a period of relaxation.

DOES BODYBALANCE REALLY GET RESULTS?

Whether you want to build physical or mental strength, BODYBALANCE will make it happen. In a study from Roehampton University in the UK, scientists showed that BODYBALANCE can help reduce body fat, increase back strength, improve flexibility and ease anxiety. BODYBALANCE has also been shown to drive significant improvements in balance and gait speed, which is a great indicator of increased vitality. Most recently, a new study has revealed just 30 minutes of BODYBALANCE prior to bed can improve sleep, boost positive feelings, and enhance recovery from mental as well as physical stress.

HOW EXPERIENCED DO YOU NEED TO BE?

Not at all! If you haven’t tried yoga before then BODYBALANCE is a great introduction. Follow your instructor and they will show you all of the appropriate options – don’t worry about what others are doing, just do what feels good for you. When you’re just starting out it’s a good idea to just do the first three or four tracks. And commit to a few sessions from the start, as it can take a few classes to feel comfortable with all of the moves.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU DO BODYBALANCE?

Just one workout a week is all it will take for you to start enjoying the benefits of BODYBALANCE. If you’re able to make time for workouts a week you’ll see the physical and mental benefits really shine.

WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR A BODYBALANCE WORKOUT?

You don’t need any equipment for BODYBALANCE. But if you want to use a yoga mat you can. The MBX MAT™ is ideal as it is soft, stable and supportive so you can flow through all the poses with ease. You also don’t need any shoes. Simply wear comfortable workout clothes, and ideally have something warm to put on during the final relaxation track.

CAN YOU DO BODYBALANCE WHILE PREGNANT?

If you’re pregnant, regular BODYBALANCE sessions can be great for helping maintain core control and muscle balance. But before you begin we recommend talking with your doctor or midwife who will advise you appropriately, as they have the best knowledge of your medical history. If you’re doing a live class, it’s also a good idea to let your instructor know you’re pregnant so they can suggest some modifications for you throughout the class.

GET YOUR BODY BALANCED WITH YOUR LEISURE, JOIN TODAY AND GET INTO THE GROOVE! 

With a Live Better GROOVE membership, you can enjoy a wide range of our own classes, plus world-class Group-Ex experiences designed by Les Mills, such as RPM, BODYCOMBAT, BODYBALANCE, BODYPUMP and more, and you can take advantage of our virtual classes. All while being able to book classes online up to 8 days in advance 

Plus get more with a Your Leisure Membership and achieve all your health and fitness goals and have some fun while doing it. Live Better GROOVE also gives you some other great benefits: 

✅ Unlimited Swimming and gym use* 

✅ Online Booking 8 days in advance 

✅ Option to use the FeelGood Factory** 

✅ 10% Discount on treatments at Your Spa, Ramsgate 

So, get into the GROOVE and JOIN ONLINE HERE 

Want to be able to book the most popular classes 14 days in advance and never miss out? Try our Live Better GROOVE PLUS Membership. JOIN ONLINE HERE

Non-members can sign up for a FREE Live Better GATEWAY membership to book classes on a Pay-As-You-Go basis (online booking 5 days in advance). Join Online HERE

Support: Call 03333 660661 or email memberships@yourleisure.uk.com and an expert will be able to help. Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm   

*Unlimited swimming during public sessions and gym during centre opening hours

**FeelGood Factory at Hartsdown and Ramsgate Leisure Centres 

This piece originally appeared at lesmills.com.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BODYCOMBAT

By Emma Hogan 

BODYCOMBAT is an energy-packed mix of martial arts moves that will get you fit, fast and strong – and leave you feeling fierce and empowered.

WHY DOES BODYCOMBAT WORK?

BODYCOMBAT™ features a scientifically-backed combo of some of the most empowering and effective martial arts moves. The addition of motivating presenters and amazing music is what pushes you to your true training potential. The workout is based on the science of Cardio Peak Training, which involves maintaining your heart rate at an aerobic training base (between 60 and 80 percent of your maximum heart rate) with interspersed peaks of intensity (pushing you to 85 to 90 percent of your max). This specific blend of steady-state and high-intensity builds cardio endurance, and also drives the transformative fat-burning effects associated with high-intensity interval training.

“I love how BODYCOMBAT lets me expel my energy in a fiercely empowering way. It’s like nothing else!” Rachael Newsham, BODYCOMBAT Program Director

HOW MANY CALORIES DO YOU BURN DOING BODYCOMBAT?

You can expect to burn an average of 570 calories* during a 55-minute BODYCOMBAT workout. You’ll also build cardio fitness, tone and shape the arms, back and shoulders, train your legs and condition your core.

WHAT EXERCISES DO YOU DO DURING BODYCOMBAT?

BODYCOMBAT features moves from Karate, Taekwondo, Boxing, Muay Thai, Capoeira and Kung Fu. But don’t fret, you don’t need any martial arts experience – during the warm up you’ll be coached through all the different movements. You can expect to power through invigorating sets of hooks, jabs and uppercuts, and there are plenty of kicks and high knees too. You’ll also benefit from functional training moves such as lunges, squats and push ups.

“It’s high-energy fun and there’s quite an array of different movements … punching and striking, and lower body movements like kicks, squats and lunges too.” Dan Cohen, BODYCOMBAT Program Director

DOES BODYCOMBAT REALLY GET RESULTS?

Not only is BODYCOMBAT a calorie killer, it truly is a full-body workout that builds upper and lower body strength and delivers phenomenal core training. Research shows that, compared to the common crunch, moves such as front kicks and fast alternating jabs are superior – and the core training you get during a BODYCOMBAT workout is equivalent to 1700 crunches.

HOW FIT DO YOU NEED TO BE?

In BODYCOMBAT there are options to suit every ability and your Instructor will coach you through all the moves. When you’re just starting out it’s a good idea to just do the first three or four tracks of the workout. And remember, it might take a few sessions for you to get a feel for it – but you’ll soon be hooked!

“You don’t need to be a martial artist, and you don’t need to be super fit. There are so many options and modifications, so it’s great for anyone and everyone.” Dan Cohen, BODYCOMBAT Program Director

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU DO BODYCOMBAT?

For awesome results we recommend you do BODYCOMBAT two to three times a week. Add a couple of weights-based workouts and some core and flexibility training into the mix and you’ll shape and tone your body in no time.

WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR A BODYCOMBAT WORKOUT?

You don’t need any equipment. It’s a good idea to wear supportive shoes and comfortable workout clothes (avoid tight shorts as they can really restrict your moves). You’ll also need a drink bottle and a sweat towel.

CAN YOU DO BODYCOMBAT WHILE PREGNANT?

It’s not a good idea to do BODYCOMBAT while you’re pregnant. During pregnancy the release of hormones such as oestrogen and relaxin can result in joints being less stable – so the kicks in BODYCOMBAT may adversely affect the hip and pelvis.

GET YOUR BODY COMBAT READY WITH YOUR LEISURE, JOIN TODAY AND GET INTO THE GROOVE! 

With a Live Better GROOVE membership, you can enjoy a wide range of our own classes, plus world-class Group-Ex experiences designed by Les Mills, such as RPM, BODYCOMBAT, BODYBALANCE, BODYPUMP and more, and you can take advantage of our virtual classes. All while being able to book classes online up to 8 days in advance 

Plus get more with a Your Leisure Membership and achieve all your health and fitness goals and have some fun while doing it. Live Better GROOVE also gives you some other great benefits: 

✅ Unlimited Swimming and gym use* 

✅ Online Booking 8 days in advance 

✅ Option to use the FeelGood Factory** 

✅ 10% Discount on treatments at Your Spa, Ramsgate 

So, get into the GROOVE and JOIN ONLINE HERE 

Want to be able to book the most popular classes 14 days in advance and never miss out? Try our Live Better GROOVE PLUS Membership. JOIN ONLINE HERE

Non-members can sign up for a FREE Live Better GATEWAY membership to book classes on a Pay-As-You-Go basis (online booking 5 days in advance). Join Online HERE

Support: Call 03333 660661 or email memberships@yourleisure.uk.com and an expert will be able to help. Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm   

*Unlimited swimming during public sessions and gym during centre opening hours

**FeelGood Factory at Hartsdown and Ramsgate Leisure Centres 

This piece originally appeared at lesmills.com.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RPM

By Emma Hogan 

Shift your fitness into a higher gear with a fun, no-impact indoor cycling class that drives serious results.

WHY DOES RPM WORK?

RPM combines hit music with the motivational power of an inspiring instructor leading you on a journey of hill climbs, sprints and flat riding. The workout is based on the science of Cardio Peak Training, which involves maintaining your heart rate at an aerobic training base (between 60 and 80 percent of your maximum heart rate) with interspersed peaks of intensity (pushing you to 85 to 90 percent of your max). This specific blend of steady-state and high-intensity builds cardio endurance, and also drives the transformative fat-burning effects associated with high-intensity interval training.

HOW MANY CALORIES DO YOU BURN DOING RPM?

RPM is a great no-impact way to improve aerobic fitness and lose body fat. In a 45-minute workout you can burn an average of 500 calories*, trim your tummy and tone your legs.

“You can expect hill climbs, flat riding and speed work … It’s a great workout, you’re going to sweat, have fun, and ride to some pretty good music!” Glen Ostergaard, RPM Program Director

WHAT DO YOU DO DURING RPM?

The best thing about RPM is that there are no fancy moves to master. It’s pretty simple, you jump on a bike and pedal. But that doesn’t mean it’s monotonous. Your instructor will lead you through all the basic cycling stances and you can expect simulated hill climbs, sprints, interval training and more. The workout is carefully structured to push you to your cardio peak before you ease back down.

DOES RPM REALLY GET RESULTS?

Researchers believe it’s the varying levels of intensity you get from an RPM workout that are key to maximizing muscle adaptions and producing comprehensive health benefits. A study of exercisers completing three RPM workouts a week showed that just eight weeks of RPM can improve cardio fitness, reduce body fat, and decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

HOW EXPERIENCED DO YOU NEED TO BE?

You don’t need any riding experience to enjoy the benefits of RPM. The instructor will coach you through the workout and as you control your personal pace and resistance levels you can build the intensity to suit your ability.

RPM has proven to be particularly good for new exercisers keen to establish a regular fitness regime. During an eight week study of RPM newcomers the vast majority of exercisers didn’t miss a class. "This speaks volumes about the enjoyable nature of the workout and its positive effects," says Bryce Hastings, Les Mills Head of Research.

HOW CAN YOU INCREASE THE CHALLENGE?

If you want to take the intensity of your RPM workout up a notch all you need to do is spin the resistance dial on your bike – adding more resistance challenges your muscles and intensifies the cardio challenge. You can also consider giving LES MILLS SPRINT a go. LES MILLS SPRINT is high-intensity interval training on a bike, a short but intense style of training that pushes you to your cardio peak and helps you burn calories for hours afterwards.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU DO RPM?

For awesome results we recommend you do RPM 2-3 times a week. It’s a great idea to complement your RPM workouts with some strength training, such as BODYPUMP, and some core training and flexibility work.

WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR AN RPM WORKOUT?

An indoor cycle is all you need. You can do RPM in normal workout gear and shoes. If you want to make the ride more comfortable riding in cycle shorts can be a great option. You can also choose specialized cycle shoes if you wish.

CAN YOU DO RPM WHILE PREGNANT?

Many people do RPM classes throughout their pregnancy. Before you begin we recommend talking with your doctor or midwife who will advise you appropriately, as they have the best knowledge of your medical history. If you are doing a live RPM class, let your instructor know you’re pregnant so they can suggest some modifications for you throughout the class.

GET YOUR BODY INTO A HIGHER GEAR WITH YOUR LEISURE, JOIN TODAY AND GET INTO THE GROOVE! 

With a Live Better GROOVE membership, you can enjoy a wide range of our own classes, plus world-class Group-Ex experiences designed by Les Mills, such as RPM, BODYCOMBAT, BODYBALANCE, BODYPUMP and more, and you can take advantage of our virtual classes. All while being able to book classes online up to 8 days in advance 

Plus get more with a Your Leisure Membership and achieve all your health and fitness goals and have some fun while doing it. Live Better GROOVE also gives you some other great benefits: 

✅ Unlimited Swimming and gym use* 

✅ Online Booking 8 days in advance 

✅ Option to use the FeelGood Factory** 

✅ 10% Discount on treatments at Your Spa, Ramsgate 

So, get into the GROOVE and JOIN ONLINE HERE 

Want to be able to book the most popular classes 14 days in advance and never miss out? Try our Live Better GROOVE PLUS Membership. JOIN ONLINE HERE

Non-members can sign up for a FREE Live Better GATEWAY membership to book classes on a Pay-As-You-Go basis (online booking 5 days in advance). Join Online HERE

Support: Call 03333 660661 or email memberships@yourleisure.uk.com and an expert will be able to help. Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm   

*Unlimited swimming during public sessions and gym during centre opening hours

**FeelGood Factory at Hartsdown and Ramsgate Leisure Centres 

This piece originally appeared at lesmills.com.

YOGA: THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE ANCIENT ART

By Emma Hogan 

We all know that yoga is good for us… but why exactly? Always on the hunt for answers, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite facts about yoga – highlighting all the benefits that come from getting your ‘Om’ on.

As you can imagine, there have been plenty of studies performed over the years examining the effects of yoga. These studies have found that regular yoga can benefit a number of health factors and produce significant effects on psychological wellbeing. Here’s what you need to know …

Yoga can work wonders for psychological health

  • Yoga is beneficial when it comes to reducing stress. Research shows it is effective in treating emotional-stress related conditions when compared with mindful exercises such as qigong and tai chi.
  • Research shows the effects of yoga on depression were comparable to that of pharmacological treatment, group therapy, social support groups, and massage.
  • Due to its good compliance and lack of drug interactions, research shows yoga appears to be safe and could be encouraged to improve quality of life and, perhaps ease the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

There are physiological heath benefits

  • Yoga has moderate effects on physical fitness (strength, cardiorespiratory function) and function (balance, walking speed) in older adults.
  • The studies comparing the effects of yoga and exercise indicate that, in both healthy and diseased populations, yoga may be effective at improving a variety of health outcomes including blood glucose (helping to avoid diabetes), blood lipids and stress indicators.
  • Small beneficial effects were seen in triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL). cholesterol and diastolic blood pressure. Given the limited evidence to date, we are unable to determine the effects of yoga in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Yoga benefits body composition

  • Yoga is shown to be an appropriate and potentially successful intervention for weight maintenance, prevention of obesity, and risk reduction for diseases in which obesity plays a significant causal role. Gradual, moderate reductions in weight and Body Mass Index were seen across the majority of interventions when practiced for 60 minutes, three times per week for three months or more.
  • Yoga practice is an effective method to reduce body weight in overweight adults.

There are plenty of other benefits too

  • There is strong evidence for short-term and moderate evidence for long-term reduction of low back pain and back-specific disability after yoga interventions.
  • Hatha and Restorative yoga have the highest correlation with positive outcomes for managing pain.
  • The findings indicate small effects of yoga interventions on fatigue, particularly in patients with cancer.
  • In both healthy and diseased populations, research shows yoga may improve subjective measures of fatigue, pain, and sleep.

Yoga can be advantageous for pregnant women

  • Studies show a prenatal yoga program results in benefits during pregnancy as well as throughout labor and birth. Improvements were observed on psychological factors during pregnancy and labor, on physical and pain measures during labor and on birth weight and number of preterm births. To find out more about the benefits of exercising during pregnancy click here.

BODYBALANCE is a motivating blend of new yoga that features elements of tai chi and Pilates. It is designed to build strength, improve flexibility and leave you feeling calm and serene.

  • Research shows that 12 weeks of BODYBALANCE can improve balance and functional performance.
  • Studies highlight that, doing BODYBALANCE three times per week for 12 weeks can also drive reductions in anxiety, as well as significant increases in core strength and hip mobility.

GET YOUR BODY BALANCED WITH YOUR LEISURE, JOIN TODAY AND GET INTO THE GROOVE! 

With a Live Better GROOVE membership, you can enjoy a wide range of our own classes, plus world-class Group-Ex experiences designed by Les Mills, such as RPM, BODYCOMBAT, BODYBALANCE, BODYPUMP and more, and you can take advantage of our virtual classes. All while being able to book classes online up to 8 days in advance 

Plus get more with a Your Leisure Membership and achieve all your health and fitness goals and have some fun while doing it. Live Better GROOVE also gives you some other great benefits: 

✅ Unlimited Swimming and gym use* 

✅ Online Booking 8 days in advance 

✅ Option to use the FeelGood Factory** 

✅ 10% Discount on treatments at Your Spa, Ramsgate 

So, get into the GROOVE and JOIN ONLINE HERE 

Want to be able to book the most popular classes 14 days in advance and never miss out? Try our Live Better GROOVE PLUS Membership. JOIN ONLINE HERE

Non-members can sign up for a FREE Live Better GATEWAY membership to book classes on a Pay-As-You-Go basis (online booking 5 days in advance). Join Online HERE

Support: Call 03333 660661 or email memberships@yourleisure.uk.com and an expert will be able to help. Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm   

*Unlimited swimming during public sessions and gym during centre opening hours

**FeelGood Factory at Hartsdown and Ramsgate Leisure Centres 

This piece originally appeared at lesmills.com.

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