Swingtrain is ‘hard and fast but unbelievably fun’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 February 2017

Swingtrain with Cailtin in Canonbury, Picture: Mark Wheeler

Swingtrain with Cailtin in Canonbury, Picture: Mark Wheeler

© 2016 Mark Wheeler

Zoe Paskett tries out a new exercise class that combines swing dance and aerobics, finding that the exhaustion is outweighed by enjoyment and great music

It is great how many fun ways there are to exercise that don’t include running.

Running is not for me, however hard I try to force myself to do it and, given that I was snowed on this morning, it seems even less likely that will ever happen.

But in the same realm of full body muscle and cardio workout is something a lot more entertaining: SwingTrain.

From the Dragons Den-backed brains behind the hugely popular Swing Patrol, which now has classes every day of the week, all over the country (I did it before it was cool) comes a more fitness focused dance class.

There is less partner work here, but just as many new dance moves to learn and each one is interspersed with a squat, jog or jump of some kind. Think zumba from the 20s.

At the Walter Sikert Community Centre in Canonbury, around 15 of us are lining up to get sweaty.

“The best thing about SwingTrain is that it’s accessible to everyone, no matter their age, fitness levels or abilities,” says Caitlin, who is leading my class this Saturday morning.

“The music and atmosphere is designed to be supportive and uplifting so that participants won’t even realise they’re burning up to 500 calories an hour because they’re smiling so much.”

Accessibility wise, she’s right – this class has participants from teens to 30-somethings to 50-somethings, some of whom have swung before (not that kind), but many who haven’t.

As for not realising the calorie burn? Yeah, right. It’s hard and it’s fast and there’s not a lot of time to get your breath back. But the smiling part is completely true; it is unbelievably fun and the tunes keep you from wanting to collapse.

Caitlin is upbeat and encouraging, but in an authentic sort of way rather than a toddler-on-speed sort of way.

There’s no embarrassment and no pressure because everyone is so focused on getting the steps right, they haven’t got the time to worry about you.

Hour long SwingTrain classes go on throughout the week in Stoke Newington, Hackney, Archway, Bethnal Green, Canonbury, East Finchley, Hampstead and Kentish Town for £7.


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