Fitness industry is on the rise. With gyms on every corner, a choice of weekly yoga classes (in yoga studios, gyms and with sole traders) and smartphone apps for virtually any type of physical activity, staying fit has never been this easy! However, if you’re looking for something different, here are a few alternative ways to get fit for those who want to broaden their horizons and try something new. In search of something special, I have tried many physical activities until I discovered yoga and climbing were my passion, and I still like to occasionally try new movement disciplines.
1. Aerial circus skills
While it’s becoming a lot more popular, there are still many people who think aerial apparatuses are reserved for people trained exclusively in a circus. Another misconception surrounding these types of physical exercise is that there is no entry level. Worry not! You don’t have to possess unlimited amounts of upper body strength, the strength is actually built up as a result of repeated sessions. There are plenty of disciplines to choose from – while aerial silks and hoop (lyra) are probably best associated with aerial fitness, you also have the option to have lessons on trapeze, aerial rope, cloud swing or Spanish web.
2. Pole dance and pole fitness
When you watch someone skilled do a pole routine, they make it look smooth and effortless. In reality, developing functional skills and building up the knowledge to combine a variety of moves together required a lot of hard work. Pole work requires a lot of skin contact which can result in friction burns. Wrapping yourself around a metal pole will also give you a few bruises along the way. You will probably fall off many times. However regular pole fitness and pole dance sessions would make you strong and resilient, and despite women currently prevailing among pole dancers and practitioners, there are more and more men taking up pole to build up their strength and increase their fitness level.
Freerunning is a subcategory of parkour, which is a training discipline derived from military obstacle training. The point of parkour is to get from one point to the other in a complex environment using nothing but your own body, whereas freerunning showcases the art of movement by adding some acrobatic moves into equation. Nowadays, it is often practiced in the streets or in specialised parkour gyms equipped with bars and walls set at different levels.
Freerunning is a way of expression by interacting with such environments – using moves from gymnastics, breakdance and tricking, freerunners create flows combining things like flips, swings, rolls, jumps or any combination thereof. A sport like that is not solely focused on physical strength, it conditions you to have greater spatial awareness, increased agility, better reaction time and it fuels your creativity all at the same time.
4. Obstacle gym
With the expanding popularity of programmes such as Ninja Warrior, Ultimate Beastmaster, Titan and Spartan, the demand for obstacle gyms is on the rise. Some people use these gyms purely for entertainment, some find it to be a fun way to get fit, and many people who get inspired to take part in the aforementioned programmes use obstacle gyms in their local area to train for their auditions and competition runs. Some gyms will replicate obstacles from a particular show and others create their own version. One this is for sure, there’s a huge variety of skills to be acquired – from balancing along a narrow beam and jumping across large distances to swinging across a row of bars and running up a vertical wall.