8 SPORTY HOBBIES FOR ACTIVE SOUTH LONDONERS
1 WALL CLIMBING
Try climbing if you want to build strength, endurance and a daredevil attitude. The Reach in Woolwich is one of the most impressive walls in the country and south London’s largest. There are courses, private tuition and coaching available to everyone from complete beginners to experienced climbers. Taster sessions start at £20. To climb unaccompanied, entry is £11 adults, £5 for under 18s. There are also excellent climbing walls at The Arch in Bermondsey, JAGS Sports Club in Dulwich and High Sports Climbing Centre in Brixton.
See thereach.org.uk, high-sports.co.uk, thereach.org.uk and jagssportsclub.co.uk
2 BRAKE BIKES CYCLING
Cycling is a great way to get fit outdoors and if you want to look super stylish then invest in a Brake Bike. These unique, single speed bikes, created by Blackheath resident Rachel Thomas, are lightweight and low maintenance. The limited edition designs come in a series of funky colours, inspired by street art
and Californian style. Purchases can be made online for £350, including UK delivery.
3 CIRCUS SKILLS
There’s no need to run away with the circus when you can learn every acrobatic skill under the sun in Woolwich. Art Craft Circus is a huge venue run by professional circus performers, led by Artistic Director Alex Frith. Grown-ups and kids can learn everything from the trapeze to acrobatics on ropes. Taster classes start at £30, term-long courses start at £117 for adults, £50 for kids.
4 CARDIO PILATES
Cardio Pilates. How intriguing. Pilates to me has always been a peaceful kind of affair, but cardio implies leaping around and sweating profusely, doesn’t it? Not in this case. Take a Cardio Pilates class at One One One Pilates in Blackheath and, after some initial matwork focusing on postures and breathing, you’re set to task on the reformer – a sort of sliding platform hooked up to springs for a more intense workout. ‘When you change the springs on the reformer, you change the muscles you work on. More springs means it’s harder for bigger muscles, but with half a spring you need to really hold the abdominals. It’s a very different experience,’ says instructor Riccardo Vitello.
111 Lee Road, Blackheath SE3 9DZ; 020 8318 5221; 111pilates.com
5 SWORD FIGHTING
Work off your excesses at the Longsword Academy, which specialises in medieval and renaissance swordsmanship (longswords, rapiers, daggers and more). Dave Rawlings will put you through your paces in a group class (£15) or one-to-one session (£30 per hour) at his Crystal Palace base. Dave is one of the UK’s only professional swordsmen and as such has made many TV appearances.
6 KRAV MAGA
The Krav Maga self-defence system was developed for the military in the 1930s and combines techniques sourced from boxing, wrestling, Judo and Jujutsu. Learning this form of mixed martial arts will not only keep mind and body ultra fit, you’ll also be safer on the streets to with an armoury of self-defence moves. The South London Krav Maga club holds classes in Brixton and Crystal Palace. A three-hour introductory course for beginners is £35.
7 HOT YOGA
It will be no sweat to work off the festive excesses at a Hotpod yoga class. London’s latest fitness craze has arrived south of the river at the Evelyn Grace Academy dance studio on the Brixton/Herne Hill borders. Held in inflatable studios heated to 37°C, the temperature warms the muscles and aids flexibility, making the heart work harder for an intensive workout. A one-hour Vinyasa yoga session is £12 with reduced rates for bookings of five classes or more.
Rowing uses 85% of the body’s muscles, so head down to Greenwich Yacht Club, where crews of mixed gender, age and ability take to the Thames every other Sunday (when the tide is favourable) in a Thames Waterman Cutter ‘Cito’. Head up the Thames to London or up Bow Creek to Bow and moor up for a break while the tide turns to carry you home. A £3 contribution is required from all on board, no experience is required for rowers and the only special equipment you require is a buoyancy aid (which you can borrow).
To book (first-come-first-served) email peter.waugh@BTinternet.com. Find out more at greenwichyachtclub.co.uk