THE GLOVES are off at the gym for the ongoing fitness resolution to look after the whole body rather than just the legs.

Back at the Meadowlands Leisure Centre gym for another weekly session with personal fitness trainer Tom Ellacott.

Having been inducted into the use of the machines, they do not seem so intimidating now. Also, the use of giant rubber bands did amuse me and take the edge of the seriousness of keeping fit. The gym still seems an alien place for me who prefers outdoor exercising.

But running and walking does not give you all the benefits of workouts using weights and rubber bands which give you a similar resistance feeling, but without the load impact of dumbells and multiple kilogramme metal discs.

Tom, is definitely the right coach to reassure you the gym can be a welcoming place for the novice like me.

I am happier when there are few people working out and last week there were only four of us.

I still have a sense of self-consciousness and try to avoid looking at other people there as a result.

This time Tom has made small but obvious changes in the weights I use for lunges, leg curls and inclined chest presses. Lifting weights above my head and lowering onto my chest or shoulders are other routines I find particularly hard. New last week was a sitting on a machine and pulling weights up and down attached to pulleys.

There are no distractions outside, so I chat to Tom about the benefits of weights. He confirms that lifting weights are not only good for muscle mass and toning, but also strengthen bones, by increasing density and benefit brain function.

He said you do not have to lift weights in the gym to have the same result — you can lift bags of sugar or flower pots perhaps. Resistance bands, which I favour and plan to buy are affordable (from £15 to £40) and can be used even when working at your desk at home, so your body can keep active alongside your mind, in between video-conferencing (or dare I say, when you switch off the camera!) and typing. Exercises can include bicep curling, overhead tricep extensions and shoulder raises. You could even work at your desk while working your legs with a short resistance band.

Standing desks are known to help those with back problems worsened by sitting, but will benefit anyone who worries about being sedentary. Desk treadmills and under-desk treadmills are expensive variations. However, they do enable you to ‘walk’ while working, increasing circulation and improving thinking — which is important for problem solving and creativity at work. They also give you more spare time after work to fulfil the hectic lives we all lead.