Getting fit doesn’t have to be as boring as going for a run – here’s our list of suggestions for fun and unconventional ways of getting fitter!
1. Hula Hoop
A lot more difficult than it seems, hula hooping improves balance, posture, flexibility and core strength while burning heaps of calories! A recent study by the American Council on Exercise showed that working out with a weighted hula hoop burns about as many calories per minute as step aerobics, so get your hoop on and learn a new skill (perfect for those wanting to join the circus!) while getting fit fast.
2. Jump rope
No longer the domain of chanting schoolgirls, jump rope has for a long time been incorporated into the regime of boxers and now this fun workout is being used by a lot of top athletes – and backyard fitness fanatics! With a skipping rope the only equipment required, jumping rope develops speed, balance and anaerobic and aerobic conditioning while toning the entire body. Ten minutes of nonstop jumping at a rate of 120rpm (revolutions per minute) is equivalent to about half an hour jogging, and the low impact style means it’s perfect to strengthen injuries. It even helps to build bone density which protects against osteoporosis. Make up your own chant and the minutes will fly by…
Remember this from the playground? Not only is it fun and social, it’s a great cardio workout as well! Get the kids out into the yard, remember some rhymes and have a blast practising routines and burning calories like these kids:
4. Ping pong
It might seem like a low impact activity, but when you watch world tournaments you understand how high-intensity this game can be! Social and fun, the better you get the longer the games will extend, meaning you burn off more calories (and don’t worry – if you’re not any good, you’ll burn off calories chasing the lost ball around after each serve anyway)! With the risk of injury low and the capability for players to practise fast movements without straining their joints, table tennis is great for those recovering from injury or the elderly. Among older people especially it helps with mental alertness and lowers the chances of falls and injuries.
Technology isn’t just changing adults’ lives – a 2011 study by Planet Ark and Toyota Australia found 60 per cent of children a generation ago played outside games like hopscotch while only 29 per cent of today’s children do. Hopscotch teaches balance and coordination, and if speed matches are introduced, can be a great cardio workout as well. Grab some chalk, take the kids outside and show them how to play old-school style!
What’s your favourite unconventional way of getting fitter? Let us know and we’ll add it to our list!