The early morning, before many people are out and about, is the ideal time to get your daily dose of exercise. Make your way into town on the early bus or train, or cruise in on relatively free-flowing streets to hit the gym from as early as 05:00. In the late afternoon or early evening, put the frustrations of the day behind you on the yoga mat, in the swimming pool, on the treadmill, at the punching bag or even with a bit of old-fashioned fencing. If you think you can’t afford it, think again. Apart from the long-term investment in better physical and mental health, there are short-term savings in travelling outside the peak hours, and often the bonus of free hot showers too.
These are just some of the options:
Gym like there’s a tomorrow
If gym is your thing, there are a number of facilities in the central city area. Virgin Active has four – in Wembley Square, Long Street, Green Point and the new building facing the Foreshore freeway that will house the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital. Or choose from Planet Fitness in Lower Burg Street, Zone Fitness in Kloof Street, and the popular Ignite Fitness in St George’s Mall. For a sustainable commitment to fitness, check out Roark Gyms in De Villiers Street, Zonnebloem (District Six). Vary things up with combined training. Cape CrossFit in Roodehek Street, Gardens, combines gymnastics, weightlifting and metabolic conditioning in tough, high-intensity workouts, while at City Bowl Fitness in Loop Street you can try it all – CrossFit, power lifting, boxing, gymnastics for strength and conditioning.
Get fighting fit
High above the city streets in Tulbagh Centre, Redemption Martial Arts and Fitness offers mixed martial arts training, boxing and kick-boxing, strength and conditioning classes. It offers a gritty urban vibe, with the busiest period from 06:00. “More than 70 percent are women,” says instructor Arran McKenzie, adding that women tend to be more committed. “The club caters for everyone who wants a bit more of a challenge, from people wanting to get fitter and learn some self defence to professional cage fighters,” he says. For something more traditional, there’s Mushindo Aikido School of Samurai on the corner of Waterkant and Rose streets. The city centre seems to be where the boxing action is, and people of all ages and genders are welcome. The health benefits of boxing include weight loss, cardio fitness and toning, and it’s a great way to manage stress and boost your confidence. There are three clubs – and regular fight-night events too. The Ring Boxing Club, in Caledon Street, offers group classes to suit all fitness levels, and personal one-on-one coaching sessions. The Armoury is based in Buchanan Square, in Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, and describes itself as a “good old-fashioned boxing club, which means great workouts, progressive learning and hard-earned reward in a friendly motivating environment. No posing. No nonsense. An escape from the ordinary”. Pound4Pound boxing gym in upper Bree Street prides itself on having a coaching staff of boxers with experience and know-how, training everyone from complete novices to professional fighters. They host regular boxing tournaments. Going beyond fitness is TrueKrav in Roeland Street, which offers combat training and survival skills. It’s evidently not for sissies, but attracts people from all walks of life who are prepared to work hard to gain the skills and build physical confidence. They offer a free trial class.
If watching the Olympics or watching the Three Musketeers makes you want to pick up a blade, the Blues Fencing Club in De Smit Street, Green Point, is for anyone over 20, from beginners to social and more competitive fencers. It’s open in the evenings from 18:30, so it’s the perfect time to try something new.
More than exercise
For strengthening your body and calming your mind, Pilates and yoga are popular and effective. Explore the options at Science in Motion Pilates studio, at 127 Bree Street, or a number of yoga studios, including the White Lotus Wellness Centre in Kloof Street, GuruRamDas in Park Road, Gardens, Yoga Zone in the Picbel Arcade in Strand Street, and The Shala in Dunkley Square. There’s been a movement growing across the world that uses specific exercises as a way to help unlock the physical – and sometimes emotional – effects of stress. Tension and Trauma Release Exercise (TRE) is said to “turn on our body’s natural rebalancing process”. By releasing everything from everyday stress to deeply held physical tension and trauma, TRE helps free you up to meet life’s challenges more easily. Classes by TRE City Bowl are held at 6 Spin Street. See www.treforafrica.com
Run yourself fit