We all know that exercise is essential for a healthy body and mind, and a long life. But what if you simply loathe the gym and could think of nothing worse than putting on a pair of shorts and speedwalking through a Park?
We did a little investigating and came up with these 5 alternative ways to keep fit – some new, some not so new – all of them invigorating and fun!
Slacklining is a fairly new “sport” which is quickly gaining popularity in Australia, the USA and certain European countries. A slackline is basically webbing, which is strung up between two trees or poles. The idea is first to learn to balance on the line, then to walk on it and finally to do awesome tricks, just as you would on a trampoline! It is a fantastic core workout, helps to improve balance, focus and determination and has been shown to have great results among those with ADHD. Did we forget to mention it is also loads of fun and highly addictive!
Bikram is a specific type of yoga developed by Bikram Choudry in 1974. If you’re thinking yoga is for girls who eat a lot of lentils, you couldn’t be more wrong! Bikram yoga is a 90-minute workout that will have even the fittest, strongest rugby player sweating, shaking and praying for relief! Essentially a series of 26 postures, Bikram yoga is practiced in a room heated to around 40° C to help detoxify the body and facilitate a deeper stretch. Many heated yoga studios also offer flow or vinyasa yoga, which is a more dynamic and (some say) more intense workout. If it’s mental and physical wellbeing you’re after, along with a super-fit, toned body, bikram yoga is your best bet!
Described as a mixture between football, trampoline, volleyball and gymnastics, this high-energy game is played on an inflatable court with an integrated trampoline on either side of a volleyball net. Teams consist of 3-5 players, with only one player per team on the trampoline at any given time and the other players on the inflatables. As with volleyball the objective is to spike the ball so that it hits the floor (in this case the trampoline or inflatables) on the other team’s side. A maximum of 8 contacts is allowed before the ball has to pass over the net; and players are allowed to pass the ball using any part of their body. Bossaball was developed by Belgian Filip Eyckmans in 2005 and is slowly growing in popularity. Bossaball could make it to the UK soon, but for now you might have to travel to Spain, Holland or Portugal to get a game in.
Capoeira is a Brazilian art form which combines martial arts, acrobatics and dance. Its origins can be traced back to the 16th Century, but it only started to surface as a part of modern culture in the 1970’s. A circle is made, called a roda. Music is played, with instruments like the berimbau, a drum called an atabaque and a pandeiro, which is a type of tambourine. Inside the Roda, two players interact. There is no punching and no jerky movements. The idea is to use intuition and foresight to anticipate your opponent’s next move and create a sort of graceful, acrobatic dance to expose one another’s weaknesses through playful “attacks” and counterattacks. It requires strength, rhythm and presence of mind and is a fun, challenging way to keep fit.
Nia is a type of body-mind-spirit exercise created in California 1983 by Debbie and Carlos Rosas. The Nia Technique is based on 52 principles that integrate modalities from dance, including jazz and modern dance; martial arts like Tai Chi and Aikido; and healing practices such as yoga. Done barefoot to inspiring music, Nia is a holistic fitness programme, which is cardiovascular and great for weight loss, toning and flexibility. Most importantly though, Nia teaches you to be more joyful and expressive your everyday life.
As summer approaches, why not ditch the gym card and try something new and exciting, with more benefits than purely the physical?