Six Alternative Ways to Keep Fit

1 in every 7 people in UK are a member of a gym. Running is one of the most popular and practised sports worldwide. Over 200 million people worldwide practice yoga. As much as I love yoga, today I’m going to talk about other ways of keeping fit and having fun at the same time.

• Bouldering

Climbing industry is really taking off, yet there are plenty of people who never tried it – indoors or outdoors. I work in a bouldering centre, and we have new members every single day, many coming along with their climber friends, or looking for a new hobby. How’s bouldering different from the roped climbing? It’s low-level climbing (usually up to 4m) with crashmats underneath. As a newcommer, you are not required to have a huge amount of technical knowledge, just common sense and willingness to abide by safety rules. It’s suited for men and women of all ages, and despite what you might think, there are advantages for both tall and short folk.

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• Aerial

I admit, aerial arts is not the cheapest way to get fit but it’s certainly worth it. There are many disciplines to choose from – you have aerial silks, hoop (lyra), trapeze, cloud swing, aerial hammock, and a whole lot of custom shapes suited for performing tricks. It builds up strength, flexibilty, balance, and your flare for the dramatic, which makes it a whole body workout that makes you look incredible.

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• Pole Fitness

When you mention pole fitness, many people still think of a strip club, but pole fitness is so much more than that. First of all, it is not a sport solely suited for women. If you’re a guy who thinks pole is easy, I dare you. I double dare you. As with aerial circus, becoming proficient on a pole requires hard work, commitment, bravery, hours of conditioning, and a good understanding of technical aspects of pole fitness. Pole fitness is also really fun, and super satisfying once you start seeing progress.

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Slacklining

If you haven’t heard of slacklines, the closest thing to it you can imagine is tightrope walking. Except, instead of a rope you have a webbed line, usually about 2 inches wide. And instead of being tight, it’s slack. The line reacts to your movement, so at first even standing up on it is tricky. As you start getting a hang of it, you might be able to take a step, or a few. Once you mastered walking across the length of the line, you have plenty of options for your next project, from walking backwards to standing in exposure to doing yoga or even dancing on a slackline. Balancing on a moving object engages your core and leg muscles, and using arms for balance builds up shoulder strength.

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Combat

Boxing, kickboxing, karate, krav maga – all great opportunities to exercise your body as well as your brain. Engaging your mind during these activities improves your coordination, agility, and ability to respond quickly to whatever is coming at you. Moving around takes care of your cardio needs, while throwing punches and kicks makes for nice lean obliques and strong hip flexors.

Obstacle Gyms

What do I mean when I say obstacle gyms? Venues designed to train the sort of people you see on Ninja Warrior and Ultimate Beastmaster, as well as giving the rest of us a taste of what these obstacle courses are like. They’re not quite as easy to come across, but if you’re lucky enough to be living near one, why not pay it a visit? I’ve been to Total Ninja in Manchester, and they had a selection of obstacles varied from fairly doable to “what kind of monster thought of this”.

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