Yes, there is an actual beam involved. It's five feet long, six inches wide and two inches high, with softly bevelled edges. The cushioned beam provides a reactive surface on which you exercise barefoot, going through a range of movements which involve walking, standing, sitting, kneeling and lying down. As Ragdale's fitness consultant, Dean Hodgkin, comments: "It's such a simple piece of equipment yet it allows for an incredibly wide spectrum of balance, toning and flexibility exercises, leading to all-round improvements in fitness."
You can have a whole-body workout that focuses on your core muscles, but one that stays mentally invigorating rather than rep-repeating mind-numbing. Because the BEAM isn't named after the beam. No! The BEAM is named after the key elements of the programme, which aims to engage both body and mind: Balance your body, Engage your core, Align your spine, Move through life.
The BEAM is suitable for all ages, and is particularly worth looking out for if you want to increase both your strength and stability.
But the BEAM isn't the Leicestershire retreat's final exercise frontier: at something approaching warp speed, Ragdale also plans to offer Barre training. Barre (fast becoming a celebrity favourite) combines Pilates, ballet, yoga and sports conditioning in a session set to high-energy music. The programme aims to build stamina while increasing flexibility (and attacking that waistline) in a fun atmosphere, again in a class that can be tailored to suit individual ages, abilities and fitness levels.
The award-winning Ragdale Hall is a great choice of retreat spa for fitness fans. The range of classes on offer is enormous -- choose from yoga, tai chi, aqua-toning or cardio-splash -- or head outside to the landscaped gardens for country walks, tennis, cycling or croquet. Naturally, Ragdale also has a gym and 25-metre pool for serious swimmers.