5 ways to tone up

Try these exercise ideas to help tone and strengthen your body.

The best way to tone up is by decreasing body fat and increasing muscle tone, and unfortunately, cardiovascular training alone won’t achieve this. Instead, try to incorporate the following training techniques on top of your usual cardio workout, to feel toned and terrific.


1. Outdoor Group Training (OGT)

Sit-ups, squats, star jumps, push-ups, running, skipping, boxing – performing a combination of these exercises in a high-intensity circuit is one of the best ways to tone your body and increase muscle definition. Best of all, when you do it in an OGT environment, the instructor and other group members will help spur you on!


2. Yoga

Yoga isn't about doing headstands and stretching. It utilises strength, flexibility and stability as you progress through the sequence of movements to improve muscle tone. You can do it at home with a DVD or join a class. Even if you're not flexible at first you'll soon find yourself progressing through poses and toning muscles that you didn’t even know you had.


3. Pilates

Like yoga, Pilates builds core strength, flexibility, balance and can help you look slimmer. It focuses on the activation of your core muscles through a sequence of exercises that will tone every muscle in your body. Celebrities like Madonna swear by it, and dancers use it to boost strength and suppleness.


4. The gym

Don’t be afraid of the gym! It’s home to an incredible variety of resistance and cardiovascular machines, equipment specifically designed to give you a great workout no matter what your fitness level is. Joining a gym should also give you access to a trainer or gym instructor who can help you navigate the gym and design a program specifically for you, and your toning and weight-loss goals.


5. Martial arts

Martial arts are typically high intensity with lots of body-weight loaded movements to help strengthen and tighten muscles. You'll get an all-over workout, as well as the chance to learn a valuable skill. Kickboxing and Tae-Kwon Do are good for working out the legs, but for something less aggressive, Tae Bo is a good mixture of aerobic exercise and martial arts.