5 new sports to try out this spring
At Body&Fit, we're full of inspiration when Spring's around the corner. There's just something about seeing the trees turn green, flowers bloom and animals in the fields that sparks a desire to try something new. Maybe you like to switch up your breakfast from baked oats to a chilled chia protein pudding in the mornings. Or you're ready to pick up some new sports. Why? Because it's super fun and can give you a great boost of fitness motivation! Yes, it takes great strength to build a solid training routine, but it can also make you lose sight of the benefits of other sports and activities. We talked about getting comfortable with the uncomfortable earlier in our blog about the benefits of cold water therapy, but we can imagine you're looking for other, less chilly, ways to challenge yourself in Spring. So, why not try out some of these 5 unique and exciting sports?
Channel your inner monkey with bouldering
These days, bouldering is getting more and more popular, and it shows by the amount of new climbing gyms that are opening. Chances are high that there's one close to you. Bouldering is a form of climbing where you leave behind ropes and harnesses. That's less scary than it may sound, because indoor boulder walls usually have a maximum height of 4.5 meters (about 15 feet) and there's a thick, soft mat to safely fall on. That's the case for normal people, at least. There are real thrill seekers that free climb some of the highest, steepest and dangerous walls of the world. If you're looking for some serious inspiration, watch Alex Honnold attempt to free climb El Capitan in National Geographic's Oscar-winning documentary ‘Free Solo’. Although we don’t recommend taking it to these extremes, it will definitely get you excited to try out one of the most fun and effective ways to strength train. You'll tend to use your upper body the most, but the challenge is to bring your core and legs into the mix as much as possible to prevent your (fore)arms from getting too sore after a route or two. Besides that, bouldering trains your grip strength, balance, flexibility and even brain health. Figuring out how to get to the top can be a real puzzle, as bouldering routes tend to be less straightforward than climbing with ropes. You'll have to bend over backwards (both literally and figuratively) to get to the top!
If you're lucky enough to live in an area where outdoor bouldering on real rock formations is possible, be sure to give that a go as well. A few of the most popular areas are Fontainebleau (France), the Peak District (UK) and Albarracin (Spain). If you don't live around these places but do want to work out outside now that spring is here, search for a climbing gym with an outdoor wall, as many of them will have one.
Have a swing at steel mace training
This is probably not something you come across daily in your gym, but if you ask around, most people will know what you're talking about when you mention steel mace training. Imagine a steel rod with a ball on top, weighing between 2.5-7 kg (7-15 lbs), that you swing around in multiplanar movements. The mace finds its origin back to the Hindu Warriors of India 1000 years ago, where it's known as Gaba. Back then, the mace was made from bamboo with a stone lashed to the top and used to build strength and hone fighting skills. The Gaba is still used by wrestlers in parts of India and Pakistan today. The Western equivalent is nowadays used as a new way to improve grip and shoulder strength as well as mobility, balance, cardiovascular conditioning, focus and much more. Maybe you're thinking of skipping this trend if you're not looking to improve your wrestling skills, but this sport can be beneficial for way more than that. Every sport that needs circular shoulder strength can benefit from steel mace training. Tennis, cricket, volleyball and golf are just a few examples, and believe us, it's far more spectacular than performing lateral raises with a resistance band.
Take your core strength to new heights with aerial fitness
A few years ago, we saw the popularity of pole fitness rise and it now seems that aerial fitness has taken over. There are many types of aerial fitness classes, ranging from aerial yoga to aerial skills, aerial hoop and bungee fitness. In all forms, you'll perform your stretches, breathing exercises, or dance moves mid-air. Aerial enthusiasts say it not only increases your strength but is great for building confidence, too. Every time you come to class, you'll push your limits in some way, whether it's beating your fear of heights or mastering one of the exquisite movements. Dancing in general is known to help with getting comfortable in your own body, so aerial fitness will have a similar effect. Besides, the dancing aspect of this sport also allows you to express your creativity. Where other types of sports can be quite repetitive, you're able to work on completely different routines when practising aerials. If you liked ‘The Gymnast’, make sure to give its sequel ‘The Aerialist’ a go. Dreya Weber plays again the role of Jane Hawkins, an aerialist who's fighting her age, injuries, and a director scheming to end her career. We're sure you can’t wait to climb the aerial silks yourself after watching this film.
Challenge your friends to a game of Kubb
If you've never heard of Kubb (not to be confused with Rummikub) before, we're not blaming you — unless you're Swedish. ‘Kubb’ comes from the Swedish word for ‘wooden block’, which describes what this game is played with. Simply put, the objective is to knock over the opponent's wooden blocks with your own, without hitting the King (also a wooden block, but bigger). The King, which is in the middle of the field, can only be knocked over at the very end of the game. Basically, combine lawn bowels, pool and chess and you’ve got yourself a game of Kubb! It’s played on an outdoor field and doesn't require great athleticism, so it’s a perfect way to spend an active afternoon in the park with all your friends. If you don't have Kubb blocks laying around, get creative and use things like water bottles or sports training cones. The only other thing you'll have to do is gather a group of friends and you're good to go.
Get yourself, and the planet, in shape with plogging
We've already featured a story about Paul Waye, a vegan plogger, where we explained the concept of plogging. A quick recap: plogging is when you pick up litter while jogging (‘plocka upp’ is Swedish for ‘pick up’). It goes without saying that picking up litter is a great way of doing your bit for the environment as well as raising awareness for the matter. But plogging can be more than that. If you're starting to pick up running, most will advise you to alternate between running and walking to build your endurance. While there's no need to, some people feel uncomfortable walking during their jog because they're afraid they will look slow or lazy. Obviously, there's no need to feel like that, but if you are struggling with walking in between your jogs (for whatever reason), picking up litter is an amazing way to distract yourself from it. Even experienced runners greatly benefit from interval training and plogging can be the perfect way to gently force yourself to build a few minutes of recovery into your training. Although plogging originally refers to cleaning the streets of rubbish while jogging, you can also do it during your walk or even while cycling. The planet will thank you! Head over to Paul's Instagram account for some inspiration and tips on how to plog.
These are our five favourite unique and fun sports to try out and get inspired this spring. If you have any other suggestions, be sure to share them with our community on our Instagram @bodyandfit_official. Let's say farewell to winter, move together and enjoy ourselves during the lovely months of Spring!