When it comes to personal wellbeing, everyone has their own unique approach. There are so many different avenues you can take when it comes to caring for your body. From getting your dose of endorphins with a fun fitness class to relaxing and re-centering with some gentle meditation – the options are endless. And we’ve partnered with South Western Railway to round-up some of London’s best spots for practising wellness, so you can enjoy it your way!
1. Hula Hooping
It might look like a bit of fun (which of course it is), but hula hooping also has a ton of health benefits. This low-impact exercise can do wonders for your posture, whilst also strengthening your core muscles. Planet Hoop’s Hoopdance & Flow class draws on a variety of wellness practices, from yoga and breathwork and dance and fitness. So you can get in a great workout and thoroughly enjoy yourself in the process. That’s what we call taking a holistic approach! Studio 1, The Moonshot Centre, New Cross SE14 6LU
If someone told you you could reduce stress, anxiety and improve your brain function just by sitting still – wouldn’t you give it a try? Of course, for a lot of people meditation isn’t as easy as all that. And that’s why it can be helpful to join group sessions, where you can learn useful tools from experts. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to further your learning, London Buddhist Centre hosts classes for all ages and abilities. You can try everything from lunchtime meditations to mindful mornings for teens. And Buddhist Sunday school is great for young kids! Classes run on donations and there’s no booking required, you can simply turn up. 51 Roman Rd, Bethnal Green E2 0HU
3. Wes and Sandy’s pick of the week
South Western Railway’s winged friends, Sandy and Wes are always on hand to provide their top London recommendations. Sandy is a culture vulture with a love for the arts, theatre and lunching with the girls, while Wes loves clubs, pubs and going to gigs with his mates. But one thing they can both agree on is their love of being airborne (surprise surprise!). And to give us humans a taste of their way of life, they’ve recommended Flying Fantastic, London’s aerial fitness school. Here you can take part in a range of empowering workouts, whilst suspended in mid air. From improving your balance and flexibility to doing wonders for your confidence, these classes are guaranteed to leave you feeling on top of the world.
Arch 27, Old Union Yard Arches, 229 Union Street SE1 0LR
Unit 1 Bellenden Road Retail Park, Bellenden Road SE15 5BA
St Mark’s Hall SW19 7ND
For many people, the words ‘full body workout’ might immediately instil fear and dread. But whilst this might conjure images of ferocious HIIT workouts led by screaming instructors, that’s not necessarily what lies in store. In fact, even at beginner level, pole dancing engages and strengthens muscles all over your body. And as well as improving your cardiovascular health, it’s also amazing for your balance and coordination. There’s all kinds of classes available in London, depending on what you’re after. Check out this article to find the perfect one for you!
5. Sound baths
Whilst the ‘bathing’ element of this practice might be figurative, some might argue its benefits far outweigh those of a bath you run at home (no matter how nice that may be!). Instead of bubbles, participants are immersed in sounds and vibrations produced by different instruments. Typically it would be a gong or a crystal bowl, but this can vary. However, regardless of where you go, sound baths are thought to have excellent healing benefits, triggered by the state of deep relaxation they induce. They also tend to be fairly pricey, but this studio offers them from just £35. 43 White Post Ln, E9 5EN
6. Reformer pilates
Now, don’t be put off by the fancy name. This is essentially pilates as you know it with the addition of a special machine. The ‘reformer’ element comes from the added resistance and intensity brought by the machine and its springs. Whilst it is definitely challenging, consistent practice will build up your stamina in no time. And this full body workout is incredible for your overall fitness. You can find reformer pilates classes for varying ability levels at 1Rebel all over London.
Whether or not you were born in the 80s, it shouldn’t be beyond your capabilities to decipher this acronym. This fusion of highly-stylised modern dance and, you guessed it, yoga, offers Londoners a daringly different way to keep fit. Set to iconic dance tracks, House of Voga’s joyful classes are an inclusive space, welcoming to all ages, skills and fitness levels. But a sassy, colourful dress code is strongly encouraged. Follow their Instagram to stay up to date with upcoming events.
Roaming through the treetops on high ropes and zip wires might not be everyone’s idea of a relaxing time. But thrillseekers and daredevils will love the range of activities available at Gripped. From high ropes and dual zipline trekking to speed slides, there is so much to explore at this aerial adventure park. And it’s a great opportunity to enjoy being amongst nature! The park is open to children as young as four, so it’s perfect for a family day out. And you can save 20% off a three hour or full day pass with this SWR reward.
9. Discover London’s gorgeous urban scenery
Despite what some might think, London isn’t all concrete jungle. In fact if you know where to look, you’ll find calm green oases a-plenty. There’s a number of scenic walking trails around the city, each with a unique offering of history and wildlife. The 4.5 mile walk from Swiss Cottage to King’s Cross is abundant with different species, from tawny owls to woodpeckers. Or make a day of it with the 9 mile trail from Wanstead to Royal Docks and spy herons, cormorants and fascinating features of London’s trading and industrial past. Browse more walking trails here.