The global pandemic has shown us just how important it is to prioritise our health and wellness – take the first step by making your wellbeing the most important priority of your winter 2021 plans.
Want to be healthier and happier? Regular exercise is a sure-fire way to get healthy, increase your fitness level, boost your mood and improve your mental health. Joining a gym is one of the surest ways to kick start your wellness journey. And Virgin Active make it so easy, with over 450 on-demand online workouts to choose from or tailored on-site classes at 134 clubs nationwide. There are workouts for everyone, whether you’re looking to break a sweat, shape and tone, or simply get your 10 000 steps in for the day at a state-of-the-art fitness facility. A Virgin Active membership is one of the best ways to begin and maintain an active lifestyle as winter approaches and it starts to get colder and darker.
Why regular exercise is essential
Regular exercise has several health benefits beyond simply keeping you physically fit: it helps to naturally boost your energy and concentration levels, control your weight and prevent certain health conditions and lifestyle diseases. At the same time, exercise improves your mood and concentration levels, and can even get your creative juices flowing. Better yet, it can help you sleep – and also put that spark back into your sex life!
But with so many varying guidelines as to what constitutes enough exercise and the right kind of exercise, sometimes it’s hard to know who to listen to or what to believe – we’ve got you. The average adult should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise each week, according to the World Health Organisation. This can include a variety of cardio exercises including walking, cycling, yoga, dancing, swimming or boxing.
You should also include strength training exercises, at least twice a week, for all your major muscle groups into your exercise regimen. At our clubs, you can lift free weights, use weight machines or do body-weight training. Even if you’ve never used any of these machines before, we’re happy to show you how to do it the right way to prevent any injuries. We’ll also help you set up achievable goals in line with your abilities to meet your weekly targets.
If you have ambitious targets in mind, like losing weight, you’ll have to meet a variety of specific fitness goals like ramping up your moderate aerobic activity to 300 minutes a week or more – all of which we can help with.
But the best thing about exercise is that it really need not be as prescriptive as we imagine it to be. Spread out your activities throughout the week and remember that the more you exercise, the fitter you’ll be and the easier it will get. No form of exercise is too little, and even the smallest shift to incorporate regular physical activity into your routine will help to set you on your way to a healthier, fitter and happier you. After all, exercise should be a fun way to pass your time, and can often double up as a social activity with friends – or ‘accountabuddies’, as we like to call them. Plus, it’s really rewarding when you start to see results.
Why an active life is important during the COVID-19 pandemic
Exercising during a pandemic might be the last thing on your mind, but it’s a great way to boost your immune system, especially with winter around the corner. And despite more relaxed lockdown measures, many of us are still working from home or limiting our movements, which means we’re moving far less than we did before. Whether you’re a triathlete, avid cycler, or enjoy the occasional walk with the dog in the park, chances are that the past 15-odd months have impacted how much you exercise in one way or another.
Here are a few reasons why exercise is especially crucial during this time:
- Immune system boost: Research shows that regular, moderate-intensity exercise has immune-boosting benefits that may help your body fight off infections, including COVID-19.
- Healthy weight control: Exercise can help you burn calories caused by dietary changes and offset the effects of a more sedentary lifestyle.
- Lifestyle diseases: Balanced nutrition and a regular exercise routine can prevent the onset of lifestyle diseases, such as: obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
- Stress and anxiety reduction: If you’re looking for a proven mood-booster, exercise can help you reduce stress levels, improve your mental health and build emotional resilience.
- Better sleep: Evidence suggests that regular exercise helps you fall asleep faster and improves your sleep quality — and getting a good night’s sleep also helps your body to function at its optimum.
- Elderly and chronic conditions: Exercise may be especially beneficial for older adults as it improves the functioning of the digestive system, increases bone density, and lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. As exercise improves mobility, flexibility, balance and coordination, it also helps to decrease the likelihood of falls.
So you’re onboard and want to move more, but you’re not sure where or how?
Why not sign up for a gym membership to help motivate you with all the kettlebells and whistles needed to get the most out of the experience?
Gyms have various types of equipment and free weights that target different muscle groups. Our trained personnel can help you do it right and assist you with setting up your weekly goals. You can try various types of strength training, cardiovascular exercises and classes, all in one space. Not only is this convenient, but it also means that you can easily change up your routines if you get bored or want to challenge yourself with a new workout programme. And you won’t have to spend a small fortune to do it!
As the largest chain of health clubs in South Africa, with 134 clubs across the country, Virgin Active offers safe spaces that are geared to get you grooving, moving, and proving to yourself that you’re capable of so much more than you ever imagined. There’s a range of facilities, membership tiers and online classes for everyone.
Here are eight fast facts about what they have to offer you:
- Can’t get to the gym on time for your favourite class? No problem. Virgin Active members have access to more than 450+ on-demand workouts, of varying difficulty levels, through our new Virgin Active Online platform via the app or website. These classes are available at any time on your cellphone, computer or smart device. Plus, there are live-streamed weekday classes at 05:30, 07:30, 12:00, 16:00 and 17:00, if you want to change things up a bit. These classes cover a variety of effort levels, focus areas and durations, while requiring little to no gym equipment.
- All Virgin Active classes are led by qualified instructors and sports professionals who have been trained in line with global best practice and the latest in fitness know-how. Classes include everything from high intensity interval GRID training, Yoga and Pilates to Cycle, Dance and Boxing.
- There’s also a scientifically developed kids’ offering to nurture the love of movement and exercise while reaching age-appropriate milestones in your little ones, from as young as 18 months to 13 years.
- Whether you’re working out with one of our personal trainers in the club or online, they will motivate you to meet your fitness goals, show you how to make weekly changes to your routine, and help to keep you accountable to yourself.
- Virgin Active has continued to adapt to the ‘new normal’ by ensuring that all of their spaces are safe and secure for members to work out with peace of mind. There is a strong focus on safety and Covid-19 compliance in all clubs, with machines being wiped down before and after use, daily deep cleans, air ventilation and the compulsory use of masks.
- But it’s not just about the equipment and workout spaces at Virgin Active. They are firm believers that knowledge is power and a key component of anyone’s fitness journey. All members also have access to educational blog content and instructional videos on the latest research-backed news relating to fitness, a healthy lifestyle, balanced nutrition and keeping the mind and body in sync.
- They know that starting out is half the battle, which is why Virgin Active provides a four week programme on sign up to get you going from the start and to keep you on track.
- They continue to develop exciting and innovative ways to keep you motivated and consistently roll out new exercise programmes, challenges and incentives to help keep your eye on the prize! This includes their latest offering – Virgin Active Quest – a new fitness challenge that makes exercise fun and exciting, while providing you with personalised weekly goals and the chance to win a R1 million cash grand prize, as well as your share of R4 million in weekly prizes!
Regardless of your fitness level, we could all benefit from moving a little more and prioritising our wellbeing, and what better place to do that than a Virgin Active club with us by your side, every step of the way.
Start your wellness journey with us now, by clicking here and living life active.