Alternative ways to get fit this summer

Caroline Cassidy

It's the time of year when most of us are booking holidays and planning our summer escape. The problem is many of us don't feel that confident about exposing our bodies in the warmer weather. So if a stroll to the beach fills you with dread now is the time to get into shape. Don't worry if the prospect of pounding pavements leaves you cold and the gym feels like a chore. There are plenty of alternative ways to get that body beautiful.

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The Power Plate is a vibrating plate that you can stand, sit or lie on while doing resistance exercises and is great for squats and lunges. It was first used by NASA astronauts and is a firm favourite with celebrities.

The vibrations cause muscles to contract rapidly. Resistance exercises cause muscles to contract once or twice a second but with the Power Plate contractions occur 25 to 50 times per second. Extra muscular contractions mean better results. Costs between £995 and £8000.

The Suunto is a watch and monitor that can accurately measures your heart rate. It also has a handy device that measures 'excess post-exercise oxygen consumption' (EPOC). EPOC, or exercise after-burn, is the extra oxygen used by the body to restore heart rate and temperature to normal after a workout.

It can be used as a tool to find out how hard you worked and which exercise suits you best. Connect it to your PC and you can chart your training progress. The Suunto monitors your heart rate as you exercise so you can work at the intensity you want. Using the Suunto will help analyse your workouts giving you a more accurate means of charting your progress.
Costs from £250.

The Wobble board is a 40cm board that can be adjusted to angles between 19 and 23 degrees. More elevation means it is harder to balance on the board. Good at working different muscles groups it also helps you become more stable and boosts your core strength. Improves strength in back and stomach and is great for posture and overall fitness. Costs from £29.99

The Nike+ Sportband is a device that can tell you how quickly you are running, walking or how many calories you have burned during your workout. The device also plugs into a computer so you can monitor your progress. There are also tips and advice on how to improve your workout. Easy to use and helps encourage you to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Costs from £31.00

The Wii Fit is a keep-fit computer game that works on a Nintendo Wii games console. It instructs you to exercise on a balance board and then tracks your movements giving you feedback. The system will tell you your BMI and set you goals appropriate for you ability. Allows you to chart your progress and calculates your fitness age. As you move through the game your fitness will improve allowing you access to more difficult moves. Select from yoga, strength training, aerobics and balance games. Cost from £69.99 for Wii Fit and £189.99 for Wii games console.