Not a week seems to go by without some new exercise fad or other appearing on the scene. Fitness expert Mary Sheppard explains just some of the latest trends so you can find one that works for you.

PILATES - There has been a lot of hype about Pilates over the last few years and now these classes are seen on virtually every timetable of leisure centres and health clubs. The system of exercise was designed by German Joseph Pilates in the early part of the last century.

It has been adapted and updated and is often sold as an ideal form of exercise for anyone with a weak back.

The Pilates method of training has been used by dancers for many years and gives them long, lean muscles.

It concentrates on improving core stability (those abdominal, back and bottom muscles) and is very good for improving posture.

Some of the exercises can become quite complex so it is best that you start with a beginners or mixed ability class.

FITBALL - is the trade name for big exercise balls - also known as stability balls or core balls.

Core training has become a 'buzz' word because it is so useful.

You learn to keep your core strong while you are lifting, sitting or moving so exercises are valuable, whether you want to improve your tummy strength or whether you are a top sportsperson.

Because of its shape the surface is unstable, so you have to work your deep muscles to try to keep your body in the correct position while doing a whole range of exercises. The wonderful thing about stability balls is that they are very useful for improving your strength for everyday living.

Whether you just need to lift the shopping bags, the children or move the furniture - stability ball training will prove invaluable.

YOGA - has been around for thousand of years but has rapidly moved up the popularity stakes as we begin to realise we need to look after our body and mind together.

Expect to learn a range of exercises called postures which focus on strengthening and stretching your body, together with relaxation and a chance for your body to 'recover'.

Classes are varied, so you need to find sessions where you feel comfortable. Some are just "physical yoga" where you learn a range of postures.

Others might involve more spiritual aspects, such as meditation, breathing and chanting.

There are lots of forms of yoga - some are gentle and others can be quite vigorous.