Thursday, 21 July 2011

A shake up in the exercise regime

Self portrait before exercise (credit James Munson)
This week I found myself considering a new and revolutionary form of exercise. I was writing about an establishment in Inverclyde called Shoogle and Tone.

It led me consult my old friend Google who told me it was a Whole Body Vibration system. You stand or otherwise balance on a plate that, for want of a better word, shoogles you. Your muscles react by tensing in a "stop this flipping shaking" kind of way. And lo, you will be firm and toned. 

I find that there's an establishment in the next village that has these very things. Oh yes. Am I going? Of course I am. 

But it did set me to thinking about all the other fitness passions I have embraced over the years. 

Aerobics - back when it was still legwarmers and leotards on top of leggings. The only way to do this was with lots of leaping and going for the burn. Thanks to Jane Fonda and her videos many of us did it in our sitting rooms too.  

Jazz-er-cise - Basically aerobics but with better music and more complex foot work.  I don't think bum-floss leotards were essential either.

Line dancing - Yee-ha. Not really very effective exercise but huge amounts of fun. Scientist have worked on this for year, but never worked out why this is enjoyable. Stetsuns, boots and checked shirts help too.

Spinning - bikes that don't go anywhere, pedalled by competitive people who take their fitness very seriously. Not even as little fun as it sounds.

Callanetics - exercise 'system' (reserve caution for systems) involving lots and lots of muscle contractions. Done for hours much pertness is achieved. Results possible because muscle contractions have replaced eating. 

Step - good lord, how is it that such a simple thing could create such confusion. Step is apparently very good for you but so complicated that only the mentally agile should attempt.

Slide aerobics - mercifully short-lived fad. Comprised a slippery pad and smooth things to put on your feet. You slid your legs in and out and, er that's it. Inner thighs you could crack nuts with.

Pilates - embraced because it seemed to include a great many lying down exercises. This was a mistake - it's the most painful lying down can be outside of a Marquis de Sade novel.

Personal trainers - patient young men and women who nag you into keeping going long after you are bored rigid with an exercise. Effective but expensive.

Salsa - very free-form interpretation of Latin-American dance to catchy music. Successful if you're at the any movement is better than no movement stage of the exercise timeline. And almost as much inexplicable fun as line dancing. 

Jogging - didn't like it very much and wasn't very good at it so stopped.

Fitball - where you learn that sitting on a gigantic beach ball is harder than it looks. 

Body Pump/Attack/Combat/Jam - Aerobics for the 21st century but with more enthusiasm and shouting than I can stand. I will not whoop for anyone.

I fully expect I'll do a few shoogling sessions and declare it the next best thing. This will happen about a fortnight before I lose interest all together.

And after that? Who knows? I'm very keen to know what the next big things going to be. 

(I have excluded hill walking and yoga from my list because my interest in them never fades even when I don't have time to participate.)


  1. You've tried even more bizarre forms of exercise than me! Love your descriptions. The shoogling (Power Plate) I did involved doing various exercises such as lunges, squats etc while being shoogled. I might give it another go! xxx

  2. ha, ha! good luck. i've tried similar and it's a bit odd. not sure if i am really convinced by the merits but they are worth a try for something different. maybe i'm just a bit old-fashioned and think you need to sweat a bit to burn the cals..

  3. Good luck. I'm doing the vibro plate, like it so far but we'll see. x

  4. It sounds bananas but good luck!

    Personally I prefer BodyCombat but not with whooping, more like ferocious roars

  5. Debbie, squat shoogling might catch on.

    Fiona, you're probably right.

    Susan, thanks.

    Joanne, roars, yes, I can deal with that.

  6. Oh my god - Callanetics! In my teens, my mum's mag of choice, Woman's Own, did an eight-page pullout on this regime which I remember following night after night up in my bedroom. And yes, it took HOURS, which could so obviously have been better spent snogging unsuitable boys and drinking Thunderbird. There was a bizarre "water-skiing" exercise, performed with the aid of my wobbly bedroom chair, that I was quite convinced would give me buns of steel. Oh the optimism of youth.


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