First time fitness

Pole dancing
Pole dancing is definitely the new trend sport. No longer just the domain of strippers, women all over the world are learning that there are serious health benefits from gliding up and down a pole! Who would have thought! In the hope of building pumped pecks, cute gluts and perhaps even impressing my boyfriend, I decided this was the first exercise regime to try.

Decked out in the recommended short shorts and ankle boots, I was feeling rather nervous, but was comforted to see similarly dressed women huddled in the room. Before we were allowed to strut our stuff, we had to stretch and warm up, which definitely made it all seem more like exercise rather than an audition to perform at a strip club. I?m glad we stretched well, because I had no idea what a workout was to follow.

We covered about 5 moves in our first lesson, including basic walking around the pole, and more complicated ?carousel? moves where you slide around and down the pole. It?s a huge workout for the arms as some moves require you to support your entire weight with one or both arms. You will also notice improvement in buttock and thigh muscles from moving around the pole as well as your torso muscles as they increase posture control.

Pole dancing is a great laugh and is a perfect sport to try with your girlfriends. Polestars, Australia’s only nationwide poledancing school, is cutting the price of its six-week course to just $200 for anyone booking in August. www.polestars.com.au

Bikram Yoga
My friend swears by Bikram yoga. She says it improved her muscle strength better than any exercise she?d tried and it keeps her calm and relaxed in times of stress. Although the idea of exercising in summer like temperatures sounded daunting, I took my friend?s advice and headed off to my local Bikram centre.

Bikram Yoga is practiced in temperatures of up to 27 degrees and is designed to ?scientifically? warm and stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons in the order in which they should be stretch. There are a series of 26 poses, each of which is repeated twice and held for a certain period of time. The reason for the high temperature is to rid the body of toxins and ensure ultimate flexibility.

My first lesson of Bikram wasn?t the most positive experience. At about pose number 6, I felt faint, nauseas and started to black out. Despite my feelings of panic, my tutor told me this is actually quite normal for a beginner. Feeling dizzy is the body?s way of telling me it is ridding itself of toxins and also that I need to drink more water. Good advice!

You will notice after a few weeks of Bikram that the body feels more toned, cleansed and flexible. Each session goes for a minimum of 90 minutes and during that time you learn to focus on your body, breathing and how to truly relax. For best results, attend around 2 – 3 times a week so it’s a great form of exercise to take up if you’ve got a bit of time on your hands. Find your closest class at www.findyoga.com.au

By Bliss Baker