The world evolves every single day, which means that innovation reaches every single industry, including fitness. What was new and unique a few years ago, is now seen as conventional. Fitness trends are changing as well, which allows for every single year to bring us many new exciting unconventional fitness experiences to try.
If you have never been a fan of an active lifestyle, perhaps the reason is not your personal dislike of fitness in general, but the type of activities you’ve been involved in. If conventional sport and fitness activities do not attract you, perhaps it is about time to try some fun unconventional fitness experiences instead.
Here’s the top 10 most fun, unconventional fitness experiences to try this year:
1. Nude running
Do you like running? Bored with the usual park runs? Well then a naked run might be something for you. England has plenty of naturist groups that offer the freedom to enjoy walking, running or swimming naked together. For example, the Naturist Foundation in Kent organises a 5km naked run in June and September each year. Other countries – Germany, Denmark, Spain, even Japan among many more – also have similar events: naked runs, nude festivals and cycling events. Perhaps that’s something to add to your unconventional fitness experiences list?
Suggestion: Enjoy a 5km run in Kent on 16 September 2018
Some variations of Acroyoga or Acrobalance have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. In simple terms, acroyoga can be defined as ‘partner acrobatics’. In a pair, one person normally becomes a “base” (and he/she is doing all the lifting/basing/supporting) whilst the other person is called a “flier” (and does, as the title states, “flying”).
Acroyoga is a great way to build some core strength and flexibility in addition to having a lot of fun along the way. Although social media is full of advanced level acroyoga photos, this activity is suitable for anyone and there are plenty of different difficulty level classes to choose from.
Suggestion: The National Centre for Circus Arts runs a number of classes for adults with no previous experience in such activities.
3. Aerial yoga
Few years ago, Bikram (or ‘hot’) yoga become a massive trend. This type of yoga class takes place in a heated room (35–42 °C with a humidity of 40%), which allows increased flexibility and helps to burn fat rather well. Now a new type of yoga – Aerial – is slowly increasing in popularity and going up the list of unconventional fitness experiences to try this year.
Aerial (or “Antigravity”) yoga originated in United States and combines traditional yoga poses with moves from pilates, acrobatics and dance. The typical session includes an hour of such poses on a hammock that is attached to the ceiling. This type of yoga requires a lot of core work and includes a number of inversions (hanging upside down), however overall it is suitable for a person of any age, strength and flexibility level.
Suggestion: Try aerial yoga at Flying Fantastic which offers this class in several venues in London.
4. SUP Fitness
If you haven’t heard about SUP fitness, you have some catching up to do. SUP (or “Stand Up Paddle Board”), originated (unsurprisingly) in Hawaii. A SUP board is similar to a surf board, however a paddler boarder usually stands (or sits) on a board and uses a paddle to move the board in the water. Since SUPs started growing in popularity (you can find them in most places by the water), people have started to use them in variety of other activities: SUP yoga, SUP acroyoga, SUP pilates…
Whichever activity on a SUP you decide to try, the class typically involves a range of movements on one’s SUP whilst floating on water, usually in a swimming pool or open water. Does that sound like unconventional fitness? Try it yourself.
Dress code: bikini, swimming shorts, thin wetsuits – it all depends on the type of class you’re taking and weather conditions.
Suggestion: try SUP Yoga at Wakeupdocklands, SUP Pilates in Active 360 or an intensive SUP fitness class at FloatFit.
5. Bungee Dance class
If an actual bungee jump is not something that you are too excited to do, bungee class might be a fun way to experience some of the thrill that’s offered by the actual jump.
What makes bungee fitness unconventional? Well, the class involves doing a range of fitness movements whilst being strapped in bungee cords, attached to the wall or ceiling. Pulling against the strings allows for exaggerated jumps and twists. Unfortunately, this class is available in only a few major cities worldwide (London, NYC, Thailand), so plan your travels accordingly!
Suggestion: Upswing in London offers bungee masterclasses (one class is 4 hours long) for beginners.
6. Flying Trapeze
If you’ve been to the circus, or at least watched The Greatest Showman, you will know what a flying trapeze is. Some years ago flying trapeze was the type of activity only accessible to those interested in studying circus arts, however nowadays you can do it for fun in a dedicated flying trapeze class.
Flying trapeze works exactly the same way as static (a trapeze that does not move as much), the only difference is that you are elevated on a high platform (this activity is not advisable for those scared of heights) so that you can hold on to the trapeze and…fly. It is a truly unique and unconventional fitness experience, so if you wish to get your heart racing, that’s something to try!
Suggestion: You can fly outdoors in a trapeze class at TLCC Trapeze School.
Here comes the water sport fun! For those who have already tried more usual activities such as jet skiing, wakeboarding, surfing or kitesurfing, it is time to try something less commonplace – JetSurf.
JetSurf is, in essence, a motorised surf board. The board is similar to the wakeboarding board with straps to hold your feet. The automatic movement of the board is directed with a control that you hold in hand. Sounds simple enough? This means that it is time to give it a try!
Suggestion: Unfortunately, only few places worldwide (for example Jetsurf Sjælland in Denmark) offer JetSurf as it is rather new activity. For those in UK, Intotheblue offers JetSurf classes in Bedfordshire.
8. Obstacle Course
Most people have a wrong impression that an obstacle courses (a run with added fun of getting through the obstacles along the way) is only suitable for the fittest ones. Perhaps when such events were first organised that was a case, however nowadays anyone can run an obstacle course.
First, you don’t necessarily have to run it at all. You can stop and take some rest, you can walk or jog in between obstacles – all that is allowed. Secondly, you don’t necessarily need to go through every obstacle. If you can’t do it (which is rare – as normally runners in the race help each other,), you can just walk around the obstacle or do a “penalty task” which is normally just an extra 100m to run or walk. Finally, people of all abilities do obstacle courses – young and old, of both genders and various body types, so do not be threatened if you don’t feel like a fitness star – you can should the distance of the race, so pick what works best for you. If you are interested in more information on this fitness experience, check out Taylor’s blog about his 5k Tough Mudder run.
Suggestion: for those around, feel free to join myself & Taylor in Spartan Race in July!
9. Kangoo Jump Class
Trampolining meets step class – that’s the kangoo fitness for you. The kangoo name, unsurprisingly, comes from kangaroo and the ability to jump like one when wearing special shoes with springs. The original purpose for inventing kangoo shoes was to help athletes recovering from leg injuries.
However, since then kangoo jump has been widely applied for the purposes of general fitness in order to increase the calorie burn and tone one’s muscles. Using kangoo shoes when exercising also helps to protect joints (compared to, say, running on a hard surface), so that’s another good benefit of this unconventional fitness experience in addition to having a lot of fun when bouncing.
Suggestion: some Pole dancing schools offer kangoo jump classes in London.
10. Hula hoop classes
It is said that what goes around, comes around and it seems that the old school hula hoop has now became a new unconventional fitness experience – who would have thought! As the name gives away, the hula hoop class involves working perfect circles with a hula hoop. The benefits of the class include improved coordination, working on your strength and, obviously, burning some calories in a fun way!
The emphasis of the class – especially beloved by ladies – is on abs, glutes, quads and arms.
Suggestion: HulaFit offer several classes across London.
Whether we see a certain fitness experience as ‘conventional’ or ‘unconventional’ depends solely on your individual taste, preferences and past experiences. For some people going to a handstand class equals to being insane, however some other people (and a lot of people I know) do handstand training on a daily basis and do not see anything strange about it.
There’s a saying that we grow up old when we stop playing. Don’t get old. Try something new and experience something that’s unconventional for you.