Regardless of the specific goals you may have already set for the new year, ensure that you are in ample shape to achieve them by devoting some time to your health. Exercise offers a wealth of physical and mental benefits that holistically combine to result in a more fulfilling and healthy life. A stronger core helps with everything from posture to lower back pain while increased flexibility and coordination aid mobility and strength. If the prospect of physical benefits aren’t enough to entice you to the gym, classes such as yoga release tension and decompress the mind, while mixed martial arts training engage the brain and improve reaction time while keeping your hand-eye coordination in check. By Carina Fischer
Different types of workout and where to find them
A strong core can unlock a plethora of health benefits, including better balance, coordination and posture while simultaneously reducing back pain. The muscles that make up our core – including our abdominals, obliques and the muscles surrounding our spine – form the fundamental link between our upper and lower body, and thus underpin almost every movement we make. This could be something as simple as tying our shoes and doing household chores to more intense physical activities such as sports or running. Give some core-stabilising and abdominal-focused exercises a try and see how you feel after a few weeks! Topfit Hong Kong offers their pilates-inspired abdominal-shaping class Absfocus, where a series of dynamic routines sculpt core muscles, enhance core strength and build endurance. Meanwhile, Pure Fitness’ Power Abs combines a concentrated hit of abdominal workouts with their Roller Release class, where you can massage away tight knots while working on improving overall flexibility.
Where to do it:
Absfocus at Topfit
3/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington St, Central
Power Abs at Pure Fitness
15/F, Lee Theatre Plaza, 99 Percival Street, Causeway Bay
Although core strengthening and weight training classes also improve flexibility and coordination, specific and targeted training such as yoga or mixed martial arts really work to boost overall mobility and help to put your strong core and sculpted muscles to use. Aside from these benefits, yoga helps you destress while you digest, with gentle movements that are great for mental well-being as well as digestive and lymphatic health. Meanwhile, mixed martial arts classes such as Muay Thai or boxing ensure you stay on the ball with quick thinking and speedy reflexes. For the best of both worlds try the Qi Gong class at Mari Yoga to experience a practice that melds yoga with martial arts for the ultimate balance of body and mind. If you’re looking for something a little more punchy, Ursus Fitness presents a host of mixed martial arts classes including Muay Thai and boxing. Be sure to follow this up with WeBarre‘s Stretch and Technique to stretch out your tired muscles with floor barre exercises and deep active stretching for better flexibility and reduced risk of injury.
Where to do it:
Qi Gong at Mari Yoga
Unit 06, 13/F, Loon Kee Building, 267 - 275 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan
Mixed Martial Arts at Ursus Fitness
Shop B, G/F, Golden Castle Mansion, Fortress Hill Rd, North Point
Webarre Hong Kong
13/F Hilltop Plaza, 49 Hollywood Road, Central
Many are quick to shy away from weight training for fear of becoming too ‘bulky’ or ‘muscular’, although this isn’t necessarily the result of pumping a lil’ iron. In reality, weight training helps burn calories more efficiently, decrease body fat, increase bone density and strength and improve cardiovascular fitness. If appearing a little too swole is your concern, worry not, for building muscle bulk requires specific and intentional changes to diet and training and doesn’t occur by accident. A good place for those looking to get into weight training is Girl Can Lift at Central’s SAPS Fitness. For an especially intense class, Impakt’s Strength and Conditioning uses a range of equipment including medicine balls, free weights and kettlebells in a series of dynamic, circuit-based exercises certain to help you get your sweat on.
Where to do it:
Strength and Conditioning at Impakt
2/F, Wings Building, 110-116 Queen's Road Central, Central
Girl Can Lift at SAPS Fitness Studio
Unit 204, 2/F, Eastern Centre, 1065 King's Road
If you’re in a time crunch, try circuit training for an all in one workout that offers overall improvements to your core, muscles and endurance. Circuit training is a selection of exercises carried out in rapid succession with very short breaks in between. A full body ordeal, this type of workout targets everything from your core and back to your glutes and arms, as different exercises engage various muscle groups. Get ready to experience optimal fat and calorie burning as the exercises take you through an ideal combination of strength and cardio conditioning. F45’s signature full-body workout packs a punch in 45 minutes burning up to 750 calories per session, while the convenience of studios all across Hong Kong is second to none. For something still high intensity but with slightly lower impact, try H-Kore Megakore basics which is a great beginners class to Lagree Fitness, and the low impact nature is great for recovering athletes or simply preventing injuries in less experienced gym-goers.
Where to do it:
15/F, Li Dong Building, 9 Li Yuen Street East, Central
Megakore Basics at H-Kore
3/F Emperor Commercial Centre, 39 Des Voeux Road, Central