By Beverley Brown.

FOR every yin there is a yang, and so it is in winter. December is an upbeat month, a time for relaxing and having fun with family and friends, wearing silly hats, exchanging presents, and feasting until you feel more rotund than replete. But there’s a price to be paid for all this jollity – and it usually hits a few days following the New Year alcohol recovery period, when you realise lycra is no longer strong enough to hold it all in. Overwhelmed by guilt, you then take the final step in this annual ritual and pledge to get a grip, lose weight, and start the year the way you to hope it will continue with a new fitness regime. Sound familiar so far?

Pre-Covid, a first step might have been in the direction of a local gym; post-Covid and particularly now with the omnipresent Omicron variant, many people feel more comfortable hitting a local park to undertake exercise – even pushing a pram is now Stroller Fitness, while Canicross is cross country running attached to your dog by a bungee line – or organised fitness classes in the open air. In either case, prepare to be astounded by some of the strange-sounding fitness trends that may be heading for a park or gym near you in 2022…



ZUU is low impact bodyweight training, which makes it easy on your joints and therefore suitable for everyone, from children to the elderly. That said, you need a sense of humour to crawl about like a bear, squat like a frog and walk like a gorilla, because ZUU’s exercises are based on primal movements such as pushing, pulling, bending, twisting, squatting, lunging, and walking, mixed with bodyweight exercises for muscle, aerobic and anaerobic work – no equipment necessary and only minimal space.


ZUU was created by Australian fitness guru Nathan Helberg, who trained Glasgow’s ZUU-man, David Grant, who comments: “ZUU is used in the elite sports world and armed forces to achieve high end cardio conditioning. It can also be done at a slower pace and regressed to suit whatever fitness level needed, so there’s an entry point for everyone. The movements are mobility based, which helps improve posture and range in movement through the joints.

But what makes ZUU different is its inclusive culture. Participants are encouraged to motivate each other and make the environment as welcoming as possible. You are part of the team from the go. No prizes for finishing first, it’s more about finishing together.” David offers Zoom classes and runs 45-minute outdoor classes at Glasgow Green.

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WEIGHTED Hula Hoops – bigger and heavier than traditional hoops, provide aerobic exercise and are fun, but you need to use the right size of hoop, which should reach between your waist and mid-chest when held vertical on the ground.


The weight is then up to you: the smaller and lighter the hoop the more energy it takes to keep it going; the bigger and heavier the hoop (and they can go up to 3kg), the easier it is to maintain, which means you may be able to carry on for longer. Classes are widely available in gyms and online – or buy one of the many DVDs available for home use. Prices range from around £14.99 up to £59.95 for the Powerhoop deluxe.


TRAPEZE is an aerial art form using silks, rope, hoop, trapeze and straps, which is said to increase confidence and improve strength, balance, body control and awareness. Classes are available at Aerial Art House, Edinburgh, Adventure Circus in Perth, Spinal Chord in Glasgow, Aerial Edge, also in Glasgow, and at Inverted: Circus and Pole Fitness, and Studio-202 in Aberdeen.


Aerial yoga, which uses low-hanging fabric hammocks and is offered by many yoga studios including Cloud 9 Yoga, and Balance Yoga Studio in Glasgow, may be a less daunting way to take exercise to a new high.


Not to be confused with the 1980s craze Callanetics, created by Callan Pinckney – Calisthenics is a rapidly growing form of bodyweight strength training, often performed rhythmically, using only your own body weight for resistance to provide muscular and aerobic conditioning.


Done to music and incorporating breakdancing and freestyle moves, calisthenics is associated with the rapidly growing international sport called Street Workout.

It was introduced to Glasgow by expert and trainer, Paddy McIntyre, who currently runs community-focused outdoor group classes (free of charge to under 16s and unemployed) at various parks and community centres throughout Glasgow, Edinburgh and South Lanarkshire. Some of Paddy’s groups are now taking part in Calisthenics competitions in London. For more details, call Paddy on 07913 959750.  


Invented by the Swedes some five years ago, Plogging is a combination of jogging and picking up litter – the name is a conjunction of the Swedish verbs ‘plocka upp’ (pick up) and ‘jogga’ (jog). Since then it’s caught on across Europe, the USA and even India among people frustrated at litter strewn around parks, paths and roadsides.

The idea is to pick up as you run and when you have a full bag, tie it up and leave it by a bin for council collection.


Author and raconteur David Sedaris and designer Wayne Hemingway are known to combine litter picking with exercise. Plogging Scotland invites all eco-conscious runners, walkers and dog walkers to join them.


This is a new dance fitness programme for non-dancers based in the South African dance tradition of Kwaito, which started in the US and has spread around the world.

Billed as an alternative to Zumba, ‘bo’ is a form of boxing, so dance-boxing to a hip-hop beat is perhaps more appropriate and although it differs from Zumba in style and structure (participants draw letters and numbers with their feet), it offers a similar cardiovascular workout. Classes are widely available across the country.