Day 18 - Physical
Every once in awhile I get this overwhelming desire to change it up, break the mold and do something different. Today is that day!
As you think on health and wellness, it’s impossible to forget fitness. This is why (along with the other wonderful social, emotional and spiritual benefits) I’ve included yoga, walking and planking into our wellness work so far. These are some of my favorite go-to’s for getting and staying in shape. Even so, every once in awhile, I feel that desire to defy the norm. So if doing the above or hitting the gym is leaving you in a workout rut, check out these 12 unusual and inspiring ways to ignite your fitness fire.
Ever dreamed of being a spy or kicking some serious butt in a fight? No? Just me then. This is my kind of workout; high-intensity and high-impact with a high-likelihood of releasing pent-up tension from the work week. Jabs and kicks offer more than just cardio work. Expect to improve your balance, flexibility, endurance, coordination and strength. Many participants also report mental benefits, such as increased self-discipline and self-confidence.
Indoor Surf Classes
No beach, bathing suit or sunblock required. Work your core and build balance while making moves on an elevated board. Real surfing movements are mixed with bursts of cardio to burn fat. A 140 lb woman will torch about 500 calories in just one class. Never been near a surfboard before? No problem. Classes, such as those offered by Surfset Fitness, have boards adjustable by level from beginner to advanced. So if you’re looking for a super hip way to avoid hitting the gym, hang ten here as you surf your way to a longer, leaner bod.
Don’t let title or intimidation deter you from attending this class. I almost did, myself, about 6 months ago when I was asked to go. This is a unique experience where different movements are made while hanging from heavy-duty silk fabric attached to the ceilings. Imagine a combination of dancing and gymnastics while flying. Trust me, I’m far from either dancer or acrobat but I left a beginner class feeling nothing but pure pleasure. This one is a can’t miss!
Ever since hitting the scene in 2011, this fitness class has taken the dance/exercise scene by storm. It is now the #1 ranked “dancercise” class, busting moves and calories across the country. A combination of Latin, Creole and African dance traditions put to today’s top tunes, this one is filled with laughter and fun for all ages and fitnesss levels.
If you thought the frisbee was only for playtime with your pup, think again. “Ultimate” is an intense, fast-paced game that keeps you running, catching and throwing a frisbee across the length of a soccer field. Incite your competitive edge while working as a team to score as many points as possible. A 150 lb person will burn about 571 calories in just an hour of this “good time game”.
These places are popping up everywhere but they’re more than just a good time for your kids. Many offer fitness classes for adults only. You may be smiling while bouncing around but don’t underestimate the physical demands of this exercise or you’re in for a sweaty surprise. A combination of plyometrics, cardio and strength training, what may appear to be child’s-play can actually melt away up to 1,000 calories in a 60-minute class!
Who has a better body than a ballerina? Barre classes incorporate yoga, pilates, weight training and of course… ballet. A full body workout with extra focus on your lower half to get those coveted dancer’s legs. Don’t let the delicacy of the word “ballet” fool you, this exercise is nothing shy of hard-core. I’d been doing hot yoga consistently and was feeling pretty confident regarding my fitness level when my cousin invited me to attend a local class with her. Fast-paced cardio work accompanied by intense strength training left me leaving with noodle legs and newfound respect for ballerinas.
Kangoo Jump Shoes
I just couldn’t resist including these as possibly the most unusual (and perhaps most fun) way to get fit. Sure you may look a little goofy but who cares when you’re having a blast being a kangaroo? These funny-looking shoes add gravitational force to your body and double the resistance of aerobic activities while wearing them. Originally designed to reduce stress on runner’s joints, these shoes are infiltrating free time and fitness classes as you bounce your body towards better health.
Indoor Rock Climbing
You don’t need to live near mountains or invest in expensive gear to experience the thrill of rock climbing. Indoor climbing centers are popular and provide all necessary equipment for rent. This anaerobic exercise builds both strength and balance as you burn up to 800 calories an hour. Arms are pulling, legs are pushing and your core is constantly activated as you work from rock to rock. I rarely get that next day oh-so-satisfying soreness as much as when I spend a couple hours climbing my way to the top.
The 50’s just called and they want their hoola hoop back! Too bad you’re gonna be using it to burn calories galore. Swivel those hips to work your waist, hips, butt, thighs, lower back and abs. This kid’s craze promises hours of hula hooping fun. Just make sure you look into a heavier metal hula hoop as opposed to the one you may find at the dollar store— they’re too light and small to maximize all of the above health benefits.
Play a Musical Instrument
Here’s a fun fact: More calories are burned while playing the violin for an hour than in walking around a track at a moderate pace for the same amount of time. Perhaps you like to jam out drum-style? Due to the dynamic upper and lower body movements, a person who weighs 185 lbs will burn 252 calories in one drum session. This just goes to show whether you feel you’re athletic or not, we all can find more creative ways to get active.
If you’ve tried running and can’t take the impact on the joints, try a cardio alternative with rollerblading. Cruising around town on these will work your lower half and build some serious leg strength. Besides, if you ever engaged in this activity as a kid (like I did), you’ll likely get a mental and emotional boost by throwing it back to this childhood joy. Seemingly more fun than fitness, you’ll still burn on average over 400 calories zipping around for an hour on these wheeled wonders.
He likes heavy-lifting, she likes spin class— sometimes it can be hard to get on the same workout page with your partner. If you and your significant other don’t typically sweat together, you’re missing out on quality couple time. Plus if you’ve made fitness goals, you’re more likely to reach them— 94% more likely according to one study— when your sweetie is involved. Also, the thrill of trying something new is shown to bring couples closer. So sit down together and select one of the above (or pick your own) to try together this week. The more fun the fitness, the greater the pleasure payout and the sooner you’ll return for another sweaty session. So bust out of the norm and enjoy an unusual way to work your form!
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[jbox title="About the Author:" border="5" radius="15"] Megan is a Doctor of Audiology, Holistic Nutritionist, wife, yoga-lover and ever-evolving health aspirer. Having transformed her own health, she’s eager to help you transform yours. She believes in power in its purest form: FOOD. Whole foods, to be precise. So pick up a fork and join her in a revolution of habits, health and happiness. A WHOLE new life awaits! Read more about her reformation of health and wellness at My Whole Food Habit.[/jbox]