Exercise & fitness

9 activities to improve your fitness and flexibility

28 Jun 2021 | Written by The Joy Club

fitness and flexibilityAccording to the NHS, you should be aiming to complete around 150 minutes of moderate physical activity and two sessions of strength and flexibility training each week. As the days get longer and the skies a bit brighter, why not capitalise on a renewed sense of motivation to improve your fitness and flexibility this Summer?

At The Joy Club we have put together 9 things you can do each week to get your body moving. With these tips you can make sure you are meeting your NHS recommended exercise targets and having fun in the process…

1. Cardio exercise classes

If you’re interested in improving muscle strength and boosting your stamina, all from the comfort of your living room, then look no further than cardio fitness.

So what is ‘cardio’? Cardio refers to a series of more strenuous exercises, and all of which are designed to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping.

The Joy Club recommends: members can join our new weekly cardio and circuits group with Jillz Health and Fitness. Jill is a fitness coach who has specialised in leading exercise classes for over 50s for the past 13 years. Designed to suit all abilities and fitness levels, Jill’s sessions will guide you through a full body workout, helping you to improve your breathing, balance and coordination.

2. Flexibility and mindfulness with Yin-Yoga

For something a little bit more meditative, you can improve your flexibility and strengthen core muscles with Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga is all about focus and relaxation, gently showing some attention to different muscle groups each time you practise.

From your shoulders, to your spine and hips, you can feel the good you are doing for your body after each session. If you are hoping to gain greater ease of movement, improved muscle strength and reduced stress, then Yin Yoga might be the best thing you try this month.

The Joy Club recommends: learn from experienced teacher Paul Selvey for Yin Yoga on Wednesdays and/or Sundays and members enjoy an exclusive discount on class prices. Paul’s classes are around an hour long and you can attend on a drop-in basis. 

3. Seated yoga  

If you’re interested in a gentler session, then seated yoga is accessible for everyone. With recent studies finding that yoga can have benefits for emotional wellbeing as well as physical, seated yoga opens the door for everyone to try this mood-boosting exercise.

The Joy Club recommends: Paul Selvey’s Seated Yoga classes – members enjoy an exclusive discount on all lessons. Paul’s classes have helped people with osteoporosis, rheumatism, arthritis and backache, leaving them pain free for the rest of the week. Each class also ends with a lovely guided meditation to close the workout.

4.  Cycling

With yoga on your schedule, you have ticked one of the boxes for your recommended flexibility workouts each week. In that case, what else can you try that will fulfil the ‘moderate exercise’ criteria and add some excitement into your week?

We suggest cycling.

Riding a bike for as little as 25 minutes a week is great for losing weight, strengthening bones and increasing cardiovascular fitness. You can factor a cycle ride into your day simply by going to the shops on your bike, riding a quick loop around your local area or, for a more adventurous outing, you can even plan some routes further afield into the great British countryside.

The Joy Club recommends: If you’re looking for quality sportswear to ensure you cycle in style and comfort, members can enjoy a great saving on all items at Deko sport. They have a wide array of designs suitable for every type of cyclist and all weathers.

5. Dance lessons

If greasy gears and helmets aren’t up your street, what better way to work up a bit of a sweat than by learning the steps to the dances you’ve always wanted to know?

It couldn’t be easier to ‘dance like nobody’s watching’ when you can do so from the comfort of your own home! Dancing is an excellent way to get your body moving and have fun in the process.

The Joy Club recommends: Tracie’s Latin Club teaches a new dance technique every Thursday at 11am. From the Ballroom Waltz to the Cha Cha Cha; Salsa to Swing and Jive, you can vote which moves you want to learn during each session. These The Joy Club Presents… lessons are designed for solo dancers, so grab your comfiest shoes and learn something new!

Whether you enjoy exercise or you are challenging yourself to try to do more, focusing on Tracie’s steps is the perfect way to have fun and forget that you’re exerting yourself more than you usually would.

6. Let your wild side out with Zumba 

For those of you who like to move to music, then another great option to try is Zumba.

Whether you’re working out to achieve a healthier weight or you simply want to enjoy the fun of dancing to the beat, you can shake it out and boost your fitness in the process.

The Joy Club recommends: Low-impact Zumba with Philomena Conelly. As part of The Joy Club Presents… members can join for 45 minutes of fun and low-impact Zumba every Monday. Members have been loving Philomena’s Zumba sessions, why not give your first class a go this June and see what the hype is all about?

7. Stretching like a ballet dancer 

Let’s take a quick pause to catch our breath.

It is always important, no matter what your age or level of exercise, to be mindful of your body’s needs. That means taking a break if and when you need to, making sure you have water on hand, and letting your bones and muscles recover after a workout, no matter the intensity.

One of the best ways to help support your joints so that you keep up with your fitness goals is to stretch properly. Stretching reduces stiffness and increases mobility and flexibility, with remarkable long-term benefits.

The Joy Club recommends: why not add some elegance and technique into your stretching with a Ballet-inspired routine? If you’ve always seen yourself as a natural ballerina or if it’s something you’ve always hesitated to try, this is a no-pressure environment in which members can gently limber up with the guidance of trained ballet dancer, Kim Mendez.

8. Tai Chi and Quigong 

Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese martial art exercise involving a sequence of gentle and flowing movements. Often combined with Tai Chi, Qigong is a kind of training of the body and mind that focuses on posture, breathing and flexibility.

Together, the two exercises offer a relaxing and mindful time in your week to build strength so you can rely on your body. An excellent way to improve your balance and coordination, research has also shown that Tai Chi can also benefit mental and emotional wellbeing, reducing depression and increasing self-esteem.

The Joy Club recommends: embracing the magic of Tai Chi. Members can join our resident expert Jerry Nicholls with The Joy Club Presents… every Wednesday morning. Suitable for all ages and abilities, why not drop into the next session and discover the benefits of Tai Chi and Quigong yourself?

9. Cool off with a swim at your local lido

Speaking of a magical way to kickstart your exercise plan, the next activity we recommend is outdoor swimming. Fancy making the most of the gorgeous summer temperatures? You can take to the water in the sunshine at some fantastic lidos around the UK.

An excellent form of aerobic exercise, swimming for as little as 30 minutes each week can target all areas of physical health: it builds cardiovascular fitness, helps maintain healthy weight and it’s supportive and soothing for joints.

The Joy Club recommends: National Geographic has created a list of some of the best outdoor pools nationwide. Read their list to discover a glorious swimming destination!

From Plymouth’s Tinside saltwater pool which overhangs the sea, to Derbyshire’s Heathsage lido with beautiful views of the countryside, there are some extraordinary outdoor pools to enjoy. We suggest making an early morning booking so you can enjoy swimming a few lengths in the peace and quiet.

Not yet a member but would like to access these fantastic offers and activities? Join The Joy Club today!