Fitness classes with a difference

Many of us are already thinking about slimming down in time for summer - but if sweating it out in the gym isn't your thing, don't worry - fitness can be fun!

Unusual fitness classes
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Pole dancing

Once the domain of seedy strip clubs, pole dancing has well and truly hit the mainstream in recent years. Ladies across the country are learning how to do it and reaping considerable benefits on the fitness front. Not only will your flexibility and stamina improve, it'll get your heart pumping providing you with a cardiovascular workout. Holding your body weight and spinning around the pole requires upper strength and your muscles overall will become leaner until you've got that toned dancer's body you were after.

Hula Hoop
Remember when you were a child and hula hooping was fun? Well, it still is and it's a fabulous workout too. Hula Hoop classes provide a workout that can burn 80 calories every 10 minutes and, if your midriff is the problem area, rest assured your stomach, waist and back muscles will receive an extra specially intense workout. And it beats the treadmill any day.

It's the latest dance fitness craze sweeping the country - Zumba works the core stomach muscles and strengthens abs, arms, hips and heart while burning 600 plus calories an hour, thanks to a workout that alternates between low and high intensity levels. So get dancing to the Zumba beat and you'll wonder why you ever bothered with step aerobics.

Jukari Fit To Fly
If you're looking for a challenging workout, look no further than Jukari Fit To Fly. With the help of a FlySet (much like a trapeze), this is a workout based on moves performed by the incredible performers of Cirque du Soleil. After an hour of cardio, strength, balance and core training you'll not only feel the fitness benefits but will go home with a serious sense of achievement.

Bikram Yoga
It's not to everyone's taste thanks to the emphasis on sweating, but Bikram Yoga is already popular both here and across the pond. By performing a series of yoga postures designed to work every part of the body in an environment not unlike a sauna, not only do you benefit from the yoga itself but the heat helps to oxygenate and detoxify the body. Ideal for yoga experts and beginners alike as everyone can work at their own level.

Of course, there are many more unusual fitness classes available across the UK, so ditch the tired old running shoes and have fun getting fit instead.