Alternative forms of exercise… some options!

We had some good ideas on our Facebook page about a number of alternative ways you can do your exercise (other than the usual walking, running and cycling!), so I thought I’d mention a few on my blog!

Vibration machines – a fairly new addition to the scene though the history goes back to the Soviet Union in the 1970’s and the Russian space program. Cosmonauts were unable to spend longer than 120 days or so in space without suffering bone degeneration & muscle atrophy (decrease in size), in researching why, scientists in Russia discovered vibration exercise technology. This proved most effective (their cosmonauts staying in space for 420 days!), but remained hidden to the west until after the fall of the Iron curtain.

These days it has quite a hollywood following with

Madonna, Kylie, Lance Armstrong and a host of other celebrities swearing by it.

The benefits are said to include (among others)…

  • increase of circulation,
  • lowering of blood pressure, 
  • improving serotonin levels, 
  • better bone/muscle density 
  • hormone production, leading to many other related benefits.

All you do is stand, kneel, sit or step on to the platform and the corresponding vibrations contract your muscles 30-50 times per second, so the muscles are continuously working. Gyms such as Virgin active have dedicated ‘Vibration rooms’ with classes – I have tried these myself and have to say I was pretty exhausted after only 20 mins and could really feel all my muscles!

I believe there is definitely merit in these machines and they certainly have the research to back them up, they are not too big & certainly easy to use, I have asked a couple of trainers who have used them and they were really impressed…

…however, they’re not that cheap, and tend to be one of those things you purchase but don’t end up using.

I say, definitely check ’em out, especially if your gym has them (rare though), but only buy one if you know you’re gonna use it!

CROSSFIT training..not widely known in Australia (its big in America), this form of training is the main strength & conditioning program used by many elite athletes, police academies, & military operation units, though their motto is

“the needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind” 

...I’m not quite sure I agree with this after seeing some of the online exercise videos! They are often based on the disciplines of gymnastics, weight lifting, sprinting & combat  – great exercise, but not for everyone. You can do these one on one or as part of group exercise and due to their specific machinary you really need to go to a specialised centre. If you want the next best thing get into a good local bootcamp group – again, this is a great way to mix up up your exercise regime, and thats how you’ll get results.

Like I always say to clients and readers alike, the body is the most amazing piece of machinery ever invented, and it knows exactly what we do – that’s why to achieve optimum results you need to mix it up, especially with your exercise, something else you can try, for variety if nothing else is…

Wii Fit, the nintendo game program. This is something that everyone can do and enjoy in the comfort of your own home –  from kids to teens, to adults who don’t like the gym or ones that do, to seniors such as Helen Mirren!

I wouldn’t have this as your sole source of exercise, but certainly it’s fun and if gets the family moving & laughing then all the better!


Don’t forget though that to properly achieve your fitness & health goals you need to include resistance training into your regime, in order to maintain and build lean muscle tone, improve overall strength, increase stamina and fight off osteoporosis. You can do this  without equipment,by simply doing body weight exercises… but better still invest in a set of dumbbells which will be more effective and can be used anywhere, it’s important to note here however that you need to ensure that you do the movements properly, if not you open yourself up to injury or simply not getting the most out of the exercise. Of course you can also mix it up by using gym equipment, variety really is the spice of life!

Change is important in all aspects of life, especially exercise, so one of the above a go, or try to think of some other form of keeping fit to keep you healthy and keep achieving your goals!

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