Are you one of those people who think of “training” as weights and cardio? Who skips the stretching session after? Looks at the foam roller with hostility? So am I. And stepping out of the comfort zone is just about as probable as traveling to the moon.
Imagine this. I used to be a figure skater. I used to be flexible. I could at least touch the floor bending down. However, standing in a room full of flexible-looking people, this including the younger generation and the casual 70-year old, I feel as flexible as a tree.
Les Mills defines Body Balance as a combination of yoga, thai chi and pilates, and is claimed to build flexibility and strength whilst leaving you centered and calm. Benefits include improved core strength, reduced stress levels and an advanced range of movement. Each class is made up of 45 minutes of exercise, followed by 10 minutes of complete relaxation. A study conducted by the Roehampton University in 2010 proves that Les Mills Body Balance can be used as a tool for prevention and treatment of low-back pain and state anxiety – so why not give it a try?
First time. Could not touch the floor. Could barely move or stretch. Could for sure not balance. Felt out of shape, despite being a gym addict, and was looking forward to the relaxation part more than anything. Coburg Leisure Centre, why are you doing this to me?
It took about a month for my weights-suffering muscles to get into the habit of the Body Balance routine, and as it operates with the same routine for about 12 weeks, the familiarity with the exercises made me feel successful and the chances of returning to the class became higher.
CNN Fitness Expert and owner of SCW Fitness, Sara Kooperman, suggests that students return to the class because of the motivating music and focused instructors, as well as the system being the same regardless of who is teaching the class – hence allowing for maximum benefit in terms of successful workouts. “If a participant isn’t successful in their exercise routine, they will drop it”, she explains.
Justine and Michelle belong to the younger generation, and they both agree that they are coming back because of the “lovely instructor”. Being frequent attendees at Les Mills Bodypump and fans of weights and cardio, they find the stretching sequences of Body Balance beneficial for keeping the body at good health. “It is a good change up in the normal workout routine”, they say.
One face standing out in the crowd of flexible Body Balance‘rs, is 69 year-old John Saunders. He started the class with his wife, who did not like it, and has been returning by himself for the past 6 years. John explains, “suffering from a sore back, I believe Body Balance is giving me more flexibility and is positive for my body”. Being a part of the aging generation, John has changed his philosophy of life and wants his life to last as long as possible.
And as with John, I kept coming in every Wednesday too. Body Balance is not a workout I would solely rely on, but as a break and change up from my other weekly workouts, it is definitely a keeper. I still cannot touch the floor, I still cannot twist my body into the craziest positions – but Body Balance has become a part of my weekly routine – leaving me incredibly relaxed, just in time for MasterChef Australia.