Women's Health

Naked fitness – are they serious? Exactly where and how to do the new nude-ercise… (and no, we didn’t try it)

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Helen Smith, naturist and personal trainer has started a naked fitness class in Southampton. But it’s not just in Helen’s class that you can look to for some nude-rcise

A personal trainer in Southampton has launched a naked fitness class for adults with a penchant for planking in the buff.  Helen Smith, former recruitment consultant turned nude-rciser led the first circuit based fitness class on Saturday evening. Smith, a British Naturism member had an interesting justification for the bizarre workout. ‘The main benefit of exercising naked is that you can really see what the instructor is doing in the exercises’ she told the Daily Mail. ‘For example, if you are doing a plank but wearing baggy exercise clothes, it is hard to tell if you have the correct form or not.’

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It sounds extreme to strip off our clothes and naked plank in the name of good form but boot-camp runner and fitness fanatic Smith insists that nothing untoward happens in these classes. ‘If there was any hint of that then the person responsible would be asked to leave’ she explained assuredly. Participants are required to register through email and also have to present ID at the start of the class.

Gone are the days when forgetting your gym bag is a good excuse to miss out on a workout. Could stripping off and exercising be starting to trend? Smith’s hour-long weekend class was attended by ten people aged between 33 and 70. Okay it’s really not for everyone, in fact, we’re yet to be convinced. So why do some people love to exercise and feel the breeze between their knees?

Why go nude?

Stripping off to squat is one terrifying thought. But according to the British Naturism society ‘The thought of nudity is scarier than nudity itself.’ Plus their website states that ‘A 2015 survey proved that Naturists have higher self-esteem and better body confidence.’ Although it doesn’t say better than who, presumably clothed people.  Apparently keeping active is a huge part of life as a naturist and there are a whole bunch of ways for aspiring nudists to be sociable and get fit.

Why would you choose to put on sweaty clothes to do exercise?

Andrew Welch from British Naturism explained to Healthista that fitness is important for naturists. ‘We’re fond of our bodies. We have respect for ourselves and we want to keep ourselves in good shape, so exercise and fresh air is very much a part of naturism.’

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I wondered why people would take off their clothes to do exercise but Welch sees it the other way. ‘Why would you choose to put on sweaty clothes on to do exercise?’

Plus naturism is on the rise, he says. ‘There is no question about it,’ I was told. ‘ It’s the second decade of the 21st century, we’re not Victorians anymore. We can travel around the world and see what others are able to do and people are starting to realise that perhaps how they were brought up is just nonsense. We’re all human beings, why should we not celebrate being human? Its only social convention and the weather that make us put clothes on.’

MORE: 5 healthy life hacks from Olympian Tom Daley

Where to go for a naked fitness fix

Nude swimmers may keep up the tradition of taking a body-baring bathe in Hampstead Heath but it might shock you to find out that it’s not always that easy to strip off and exercise in public. You might get a few funny looks (and pneumonia) if you take yourself out for a run this week wearing only your trainers but luckily for some, a Saturday night in Southampton isn’t the only time that you can bare all in Britain. British Naturism advertise a number of social events and activities that take place throughout the week and year. Needless to say when it comes to the dress code you don’t have to be blowing out candles to don your birthday suit.

Swim and spa in the buff

If you wander into the Energybase swimming pool at the University of London Student Central at midday on a Sunday you might be in for a bit of a surprise. ‘Did you visit a nude beach on holiday and wish there was somewhere to go during the rest of the year? Never tried but fancy giving it a go?’ asks Naturist.London.

Well, not really but we get the gist. Escape the cold January days, close your eyes, swim down the lane and throwback to the sunny days of last summer on that French nudist beach.

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In fact there are naked swimming nights dotted around London and throughout the country. At Noah’s Ark naturist swim, sauna and gym in Espom you can jump around at a naked aqua aerobics, chill in the spa and swim about the pool with your fellow nudists. ‘When you get to poolside people realise what a liberating thing it is. It’s not shameful, it’s not disgusting and I’m me, I’m not going to be ashamed of it.’ Welch told me on the topic of going for a naked dip.

Naked Yoga 

Suitable both for those new to yoga and the more experienced, Naked Yoga London offers classes to yoga lovers that are looking for a unique practice. ‘At first I felt a little bit embarrassed just wrapped into my sarong. But as soon as lesson started I forgot all my embarrassment, dropped my sarong and totally immersed into yoga meditation, mesmerized by soft and floating voice of facilitator and embraced by her care and gentle personal attention. These 2 hours felt like 1. Doing yoga naked it’s such a natural and releasing sensation! Thank you for this very special and amazing experience’ explained one naked yogi, Tara.

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On the website, Naked Yoga London explains that practicing yoga naked shows a deep acceptance of oneself. ‘People seem to be able to go much deeper into the practice when naked, and this I have experienced directly over the months of running these courses’ explains Annette who runs Naked Yoga.

While we’re sure yoga minus the yoga pants equals a whole load of self confidence we’re not confident we’d feel particularly graceful in this session. The thought of a room of people naked, deep breathing and standing on one leg is more reminiscent of something from a horror movie than a fitness class but if you love your naked nidra then who are we to judge.

Naked hiking 

According to Richard Foley author of Naked Hiking, going for a nude stroll in the countryside is not only totally legal but fully supported in countries around the world. His book describes itself as bringing together experts in the field to bare all on the topic. Naturistly, the book is fully illustrated and includes over 80 full colour NSFW images. So if naked hiking is a hobby you’re looking to pick up then this might just be your best purchase of 2017.

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A naked fest

That’s right. Move aside Glastonbury the experienced nudists know there are British festivals that you can go to and not get in trouble for taking off all your clothes when you’ve had one too many. Nudestock in Doncaster and Nudefest in Longport Somerton are THE places to go this summer for live music, a good atmosphere and zero clothing. Hopefully there’s no rain or it might turn into a very literal mud bath.

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