When we think about exercise, ‘lazy’ isn’t normally the word that comes to mind. In fact, even just stepping foot in a gym requires motivation and energy—pretty much the exact opposite of laziness. So, when we’re planning out our workouts for the week, ‘do nothing’ doesn’t usually appear on the schedule.
But if this workout trend is anything to go by, this may be about to change. According to Michelle Morrey, a group fitness expert at London’s Equinox gym, there’s been a shift in focus from high-intensity session to ‘lazy workouts’ that involve doing, well, not much at all! “People are realising the importance of a holistic and balanced approach to fitness. And I’ve seen far more interest in regenerative classes.” – Michelle Morrey, via Daily Mail
Unfortunately, the classes aren’t ‘lazy’ in the sense that you get to lie on a lounge and watch TV. Rather, they focus on breathing, stretching, flexibility, and mobility—all things that fitness experts have come to acknowledge are just as important as physical strength and agility.
In the past, I’ve personally been guilty of feeling like these kinds of classes aren’t ‘real workouts.’ Nevertheless, I used to drag myself along to the flexibility and mobility classes at my small group training gym each week. As much as it wasn’t really my jam, there’s no denying that the sessions improved my overall fitness. Not only did it help me to lift weights more efficiently (probably by increasing my range of movement), my muscles were less tight and sore after my sessions. Not only that, I felt surprising relaxed after the classes (especially compared to after my burpee-filled HIIT sessions!) According to Elle Landgren, the stretching expert and yogi behind Elle Fit Active, there’s a good reason behind this:
“Even if you don’t feel peaceful whilst you stretch or do gentle exercise, on a physiological level your body is starting to find balance. It will come out of the fight or flight state and things will begin to return to normal. The more you do it the better it gets.”
We’ve written before about the impact stress hormones can have on your body when you’re trying to lose weight. So, if you’re constantly slogging it out in intense gym sessions and still can’t seem to shift that last layer of fat, there’s a good chance these low-key workouts are the missing piece of your fitness puzzle. Flick through the gallery for our favourite styles of ‘lazy workouts.’
It doesn’t get much lazier than having a snooze in the middle of your working day — and that’s exactly what the NapTime class at Sydney’s The Indigo Project involves! It’s no secret that sleep has some amazing regenerative effects and having tried this 30-minute-class, I can definitely say you walk away feeling focused and revitalised.
Maybe it’s being free from the usual restraints of gravity, but there’s there’s just something so relaxing about hammocks. That’s why we love aerial yoga. The low-impact classes involve practicing yoga while suspended in a silky hammock. While not all aerial yoga classes could be considered lazy (some of them are a serious core workout!), plenty of studios offer flow-style classes that are more chilled than challenging.
“But I KNOW how to breathe,” you may protest. Do you really, though? From stressful situations to that tricky 10th rep at the gym, many of us forget how to breathe properly when we need it the most. Breathing classes are held all around Australia help you get to basics and master your own breath. If you really can’t stand the idea of just breathing for an hour, certain styles of yoga and tai chi offer a more dynamic option while still teaching you how to breathe.
Classes that focus on stretching and mobility are beginning to become more mainstream in Australia. Many boutique and group fitness gyms offer these types of sessions and even Fitness First offers Stretch and Roll, classes. These are definitely a must for anyone with a desk job, as they help to counteract the muscle shortening effects of sitting all day (as well as improving your flexibility and relieving post-workout soreness).
Just when we thought yoga couldn’t get any more relaxing, someone goes ahead and invents candlelight yoga. This class is popping up on timetables across the US and UK and quite frankly, we can’t wait for it to hit Aussies shores. As the name suggests, it involves practicing low-intensity yoga while surrounded by candles. Talk about blissful! Not only do you get the usual benefits of stretching, it’s also a fantastic way to wind down at night before you go to sleep.