Month: March 2010

Bosu – great home fitness kit

It looks rather like a blue mushroom or a Fitball sliced in half.  The BOSU Balance Trainer is not a thing of beauty and I’m eyeing it with deep suspicion as it sits stolidly in front of the TV in my living room (clashing violently with the rug).  This bit of home exercise kit is so hot I’ve had to wait several weeks to get hold of one, so what is all the fuss about? Half an hour later I’ve found out.  I managed about half the first session on the accompanying DVD and am now sitting in a pool of sweat.  Can I feel it?  Hell yes.  I’ve lunged and squatted and stepped and jumped.  I’ve wobbled on top of it and then flipped it over and done push-ups on it.  I’ve crunched and stretched and I am shaking like a leaf.  In a good way, I hasten to add.  The beauty of the BOSU is that it does the lot. You use it dome-side up for cardio workouts, to build lower body strength …

Are spas worth it?

I recently visited a spa where a facial cost a cool £350.  An exfoliation and massage would set you back £175 and £200 would buy you a couple of hours of an exotic steam ‘ritual’.  Unless you were seriously rich, would you really be able to relax or would you end up lying there doing the cost-per-minute math in your head?  The pampering industry is big business.  There is no precise data for the UK but a recent report estimated that the European spa industry is worth $18.4 billion. There are approximately 600 spas in the UK, including day spas, ‘destination’ spas (large dedicated spas such as Champneys) and hotel spas.  The figure however is really the tip of the iceberg as it doesn’t include the huge number of old-style ‘beauty salons’ or hotels which have the odd treatment room. All this pampering is very lovely but are we getting a fair deal?  You read about some exotic facial or bathing ‘ritual’ in a glossy magazine and it sounds nigh-on miraculous.  But can you really …