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Get more physical in 2010 

9 ways to get physical in 2010

One thing we’re not going to tell you to do in 2010 is to get more physical just so you can lose weight.

Take up an energetic pastime or generally get more active and you probably will lose some of those extra pounds – but that’s only half the story. Losing weight is a good reason for increasing physical exertion, but you’ll also get real long-term value and even greater incentives as well as end up with a whole lot more satisfaction if you also think about the other benefits.

It’s also about getting a better body shape as well as a better size, but you’ll also cash in on the satisfaction of new challenges, meeting new people, responding to new goals and - if not turning your body into a temple - then certainly putting down the foundations of a healthier metabolism that you will still be reaping the benefits of in 20 or 30 years’ time. Long-term health issues that become inevitable for the inactive dwindle and can disappear altogether if you take charge of your physical now.

And you’re never too old to start. Whatever your age, an open-minded approach to physical exercise now is bound to be an investment in a healthier future.

But here’s what could be the clincher for some people: we live in a privileged age. The recreational facilities on offer to us were undreamed of in previous generations, and they are there for the taking. Swindon is as lucky as anywhere because of the opportunities and facilities available to us, so there has never been a better time to start seeing exercise as a blessing rather than a chore.

Apart from the obvious sporting opportunities in Swindon, there are plenty more opportunities to get active, and we’ve put together a few ideas to get you thinking...

1 Join a private fitness and leisure club

Sweat shops they are not! Today’s private fitness and leisure clubs provide such a welcoming and luxurious environment for sports and exercise that workouts become something to look forward to. You’ll find superb facilities, smart areas to relax in, both before and after exercise, and even smart bars and eating areas to enjoy at your leisure. These venues provide a 21st century approach to getting fit and healthy - and Swindon is blessed with arguably the finest names in the field.

Next Generation, at Elgin, claims to be “the largest, most luxurious racquets, health and fitness club in the south-west”, and its facilities include both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, state-of-the-art tennis courts and even a spa, and these are only a few of the dozens of sports and activities on offer. The Next Generation web address isn’t redefineyourself.co.uk nothing.

Next Generation Swindon
Next Generation
Sports, fitness and recreational facilities for the whole family...

Nuffield Health is another stylish option - but with a slightly different approach. Based at Greenbridge, they describe themselves as a “fitness and wellbeing centre”. Here the facilties – including a fitness area, sauna, steam room, spa pool, swimming pool and spinning studio – are also excellent, but they aim to “improve your wellbeing for the long-term by helping you to actively take control of your health”.

Nuffield Health Swindon
Nuffield Health
Stylish health club at Greenbridge. The perfect place to keep fit in Swindon...

The Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars Hotel has a leisure club that combines a state-of-the-art gym with an impressive spa. Facilities include a dry flotation room and the services available include massage, facials and various beauty and grooming treatments.
Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars Hotel
Cotswold Water Park Hotel
Contemporary luxury 4* Cotswolds hotel set in a wonderland of lakes, rivers, woodland and open countryside...
The Wiltshire Hotel in Wootton Bassett boasts a range of leisure facilities catering for "those who want to pamper themselves, gently exercise, relax in a big pool or run for Mr Universe". Failing that, their 18-hole golf course offers a great opportunity to exercise whilst enjoying a first-class round of golf.
The Wiltshire Hotel and Leisure Club Swindon
The Wiltshire Hotel & Golf Club
18 hole golf course with hotel and leisure facilities near Wootton Bassett...

2 Get fit on a budget

If you are on a budget and looking to get fit, then Fit4Less could be the answer. This is a gym without the frills of some of its more luxurious counterparts, although that’s not to say you’ll have to slum it. The venue, which is at Eldene, has more than 50 pieces of exercise equipment, a weights gym, solarium, members’ lounge area and even an on-site hair salon, so facilities are excellent, but Fit4less is primarily concerned with living up to its name. They offer a free one-day pass for you to try it out, so it’s a good option for starters as well as those committed to a long-term personal fitness programme.

Fit 4 Less Swindon
Fit 4 Less
Affordable fitness club based in Eldene...

Similarly, Fitness First, which is at West Swindon, promises “affordable fitness in a friendly environment”. Their fresh, modern facilities include a sauna, steam room, sunbeds, aromatherapy room and a beauty room, and you also get access to personal trainers.  
Fitness First Swindon
Fitness First
Affordable fitness in a friendly environment...
And if you live in Wroughton, then you've some excellent facilities right on your doorstep, with the Ridgeway Leisure Centre not only offering a gym and pool but also massage and a sport injuries clinic, together with gymnastics, beauty therapy, pilate classes - and even scuba diving!
Ridgeway Leisure Centre, Wroughton, Swindon
Ridgeway Leisure Centre
Competitive prices to suit the whole community...

3 Join a gym

One of the criticisms people sometimes have of gyms is they can make you feel inferior. Some use this as an excuse to stay unfit, but others are genuinely put off by the thought by the ‘perfect specimens’ on the running machine next to you. But it doesn’t have to be like that. There are so many gyms in our area that you’re sure to find one: a) where you’ll feel comfortable; and b) that is within your budget. That’s why we’ve done a round-up of the best gyms in the area. It’s important to find a gym that you feel comfortable in, so take your time and ask to look around the facilities before making your choice.

4 Join a ladies-only gym

Once upon a time it was fair comment for women to say they didn’t go to the gym because they felt shy and even intimidated, especially as all the equipment seemed to have been designed for men. Those days are over – and especially in Swindon, where excellent facilities exist that were established not just with women in mind, but are exclusively for women. Curves, in the town centre, is strictly women only, and has a gym with equipment designed “to work in harmony with women’s bodies”. We cannot say whether the worldwide success of Curves is down to the absence of men, or because all those women socialising together, like women do, creates an atmosphere so convivial that it takes their minds off of all the physical effort they’re putting into it. Whatever its secret, Curves is a good idea and works – probably in exactly the same way that an all-male gym wouldn’t.
Curves Swindon
The Original Women-Only 30-minute Workout with 11,000 locations in over 60 countries...

5 Sample the martial arts

There may be many more different branches of martial arts to choose from in the 21st century than there were in the 20th century, but their appeal remains as broad as ever. Their special way of marrying the mind and the body, the unique benefits of the discipline that is at the heart of their philosophy and the self-confidence that comes from self defence shouldn’t distract us from the fact that the physical exertion required means they just as as beneficial even if you don’t take them up as a competitive sport. And let’s not also forget that martial arts are for people of all ages, and an activity that’s as valuable for women as it is for men. Our guide to martial arts in the Swindon area will get you started.     
> Martial Arts in Swindon

6 Get yourself a personal trainers

You don’t have to be an athlete, royalty or a celebrity to have a personal trainer. In fact, we’re recommending it for anybody. When you're committed to getting yourself in trim, having somebody – anybody – who can share your challenge is good. And, of course, having an expert in tow is much better. You’ll get all-round advice about key elements such as nutrition, injuries and equipment, and because you will both be working to a plan that you have committed to, that will help focus your mind on the job ahead. The best thing you’ll get is feedback. That just doesn’t mean praise when you’re flying and encouragement when you’re flagging, but an objective viewpoint that can be priceless when you’re unsure of the progress you are making. So check out our mini guide to personal trainers in Swindon.
> Personal Trainers in Swindon

7 Get on yer bike – with a club

You don’t need us to tell you about the benefits and the joys of cycling, but you might need to be put straight on the subject of cycle clubs. If you’re already fit, aiming high or like to race, then the likes of the excellent Swindon Road Club is probably just what you need to take you to greater heights. But not all of us have dreams of riding in the Tour de France, and it may be just as important to you to double your enjoyment by getting involved in something that is healthy but also inherently sociable. Cue the Swindon Cyclists’ Touring Club, which is a friendly organisation for people of all shapes, sizes and ages who like cycling but don’t necessarily always take it so seriously (the fact that their Wednesday rides are called TWERPS is a giveaway). They also ride on Saturdays.
> Cycling in Swindon

8 Get on yer bike – in Swindon and beyond

Swindon Borough Council has an excellent section on its website which features lots of information for would-be cyclists, including downloadable route maps. As well as the streets of Swindon, the Cotswold Water Park is also good for cycling as it has a network of cycle routes, which you can also download. If you need a new bike or are returning to it with an old bike that needs maintenance and could do with an ‘MOT’ before you venture out on it, then make sure you are safe. It’s always best to get the experts involved. Mitchell Cycles, in Shrivenham Road, are great for leisure cyclists, whereas others are purely specialists, such as Red Planet Bikes, who deal in mountain bikes.
Mitchell Cycles Swindon
Mitchell Cycles
The bike people in Swindon...
Red Planet Bikes Swindon
Red Planet Bikes
Mountain and Road bikes for the serious cyclist...

9 Hire a bike

If you’re not sure that cycling is for you, or you just want to get in the saddle and get some fresh air at Lydiard Park, then take note of Red Planet Bikes2Go. They have adult, children’s and tots’ bikes for hire, and you can also take out all manner of weird and wonderful contraptions, such as child trailers, three-wheelers and – probably the most fun of all - tandems. Bikes 2Go close in the winter, but will re-open in the spring.
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