Ballymena offers lots of options for exercising – either at a gym or class in the Flamingo, Studio Shake or a local centre or with groups who train together. If you are new to exercising and want to try and get a little bit fitter then there are lots of options which aren’t intimidating or over the top.
Walking is one of the best ways to start if you haven’t exercised for a while. Head out for a walk around town, or head out and take advantage of one of our local walkways. Head to the Ecos Centre and follow their path, go to Portglenone Forest, enjoy the River Walk at Broughshane or walk from Cullybackey to Galgorm Manor via the pathway at the Spar in the village. Being outdoors boosts your vitamin D levels which plays a big role in everything from bone health to immunity. Walking strengthens your heart and is a gentle way to start improving your fitness.
Equipment: Unfortunately in Ballymena the weather is unreliable so we suggest a raincoat with a hood, and some comfortable walking shoes. If you are planning to walk at night the wear something which has reflective of fluorescent strips so you will show up in the dark.
Running has become a really popular pass time in Ballymena over the past few years. We blame the Olympics which seems to have inspired lots of people to take to the footpaths, trails and roads. To take up running all you need to do is get out there and have a go. Start slow, running small distances and then walking in intervals. If you have landmarks to focus on that will help you to stay motivated. Running solo is good but sometimes it is easier to run in a group. Ballymena Runners organise the ParkRun at the Ecos Centre which is a 5k run every Saturday morning. If that sounds too daunting then you can join the Cosy to 5K running scheme with the Ballymena Runners which will get you up to the 5k running standard.
If it is wet outside then you can head to the gym and have a go on a treadmill where you can adjust the incline and speed to get a great workout.
Equipment: Pick up some running gear, put on a t-shirt and a high visibility jacket and you are ready to go. Call in to a sports shop such as Style ‘n’ Sport who can measure your feet and advise you which trainer is the best for you to wear. Grab a bottle of water if you are running a long distance and take advantage of Apps such as those from Nike or Runkeeper to record your distances. That way you can challenge yourself to best your personal best.
Ballymena has two great Golf Courses – Galgorm Castle Golf Course and Ballymena Golf Club in Broughshane. Have a visit and sign up to enjoy this game. Golf gives you plenty of opportunity to walk between holes and needs skill, dexterity and practice. Golf is great because you can meet others to play against, and enjoy stress reducing benefits too. If you don’t fancy a full games then you can head for a putting green or the driving range.
Equipment: You will need to pick up some golf clubs (if you are left handed you will need a left handed set) and golf shoes. Also check with the golf club about their dress code. Most golf clubs offer clubs which you can hire for a day.
Cyclists area a regular sight on Ballymena roads. If you have a bike then you will be able to cycle in and out of town and in and out of work. Cycling increases fitness, relieves stress and is good to the environment. If you would rather cycle off the road then click here to find out more about some designated cycle networks. Make sure that your bicycle is roadworthy before you head out by taking it to your local bike shop for a once over. If you are heading off road, or getting seriously into road cycling then you can get advice from Velo Culture on Greenvale street or Ballymena Road club.
If you want the health benefits of cycling but without investing in the equipment (or venturing outdoors) you can head to the gym and join in with a Spin Cycle class. We love the Spin classes at female Gym B.D. Fitness at Ballymena Business Centre.
Equipment: You will need to buy a bike and keep it maintained. High visibility gear, and a helmet are a must, a toolkit and good quality bike lock will be handy too. Click here for more information about cycling.
Join a Gym
Joining a gym is one of the best ways to improve you fitness – especially of you take advantage of personal trainers and plans which are available. In Ballymena there are lots of different gyms which offer a huge variety of classes from dance, to spinning, to circuits all of which are great and once you find the class you enjoy the best you are bound to notice some results. If classes aren’t for you then grab and instructor and get an induction showing you how to use the gym equipment. Gyms in Ballymena include Fitness Elite, Fitness First and there are gyms such as BD Fitness and the Flamingo are exclusively for females. There are lots of classes and options to choose from so its just a matter of getting your trainers on and going for it!
We are just offering some advice for people who want to start getting more active. If you are seriously worried about your fitness then talk to your doctor and start small with your exercising. Also we aren’t experts – at any of the gyms in Ballymena you will receive advice from trained professionals who will be able to help you as you start exercising in Ballymena.