It’s summer time and you want stay in shape for the excellent vacations you have coming up, but you are kind of bored with you typical routines. We feel you; after a winter trapped in the gym, bench press can feel a bit stale. Thankfully, our bodies do not care whether we are on the treadmill or running around a lake, they respond to physical exertion either way. That being said, why not step outside of the gym, and possibly your comfort zone, and seek out alternative methods for burning off the weekend sins. Check out five activities fun enough that you’ll forget you are exercising (though you’ll know it the morning after).
Disclaimer, unless you are a medieval knight paid by the king, stay away from real swords. With that bit of legal business out of the way, why don’t you consider enrolling in sword fighting classes for something new, and something exhausting? There’s a good chance a local martial arts school offers classes. Using a katana replica made for sparring (not severing) you’ll learn the art of swordplay, moving, striking, defending, while your body gets tone. In an article for Time magazine, Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino discussed the difficulty and effects of the heroine’s sword training for Kill Bill. Uma was coming off a pregnancy and 30 lbs overweight (by Hollywood standards) and look sloppy wielding her weapon. After months of training, she became a super-hot, sword fighting vixen. Ideally, you will not become a vixen, but you should notice increased strength in your shoulders, arms, core and back from repeatedly hoisting and striking your sword. Additionally, moving around the floor (jumping rolling, dashing, and other tactical ninja stuff) will be a real calorie burn.
There is a reason so many dance-workout videos exist – it can be a great exercise for losing weight and toning your body, while taking one’s mind off the workout. CalorieCount.com says, depending on style, exertion level and body type, dancing will burn between 300 and 700 calories an hour. Not bad for just moving to music. Shouldn’t be surprising either if you have checked out the bodies of the pros on Dancing with the Stars. You may have to suck up your pride and take some ribbing from your friends, but attending some dance classes could really pay off when you hit the beach. It doesn’t have to be a ballroom class, more manly choices like hip-hop and step classes are available (plus they burn more calories). Another benefit, of course, is when you hit the club, you might get a nice looking girl to dance with you. You know what they say about the correlation of dancing and the after-after party. Dancing will improve coordination, balance, flexibility and help shed winter weight.
The founders of Sky Zone, tell a true American entrepreneurial story to, well, Entrepreneur magazine. Rick and Jeff Platt were pitched an idea for a new sport played on trampolines with rotating basketball hoops. They were not sure about the sport, but because they are awesome, they bought the patent and built a massive, trampoline filled warehouse in Las Vegas. Not knowing exactly what to do with the facility, they stumbled upon dodgeball when local kids were begging to play there. And we are all the better, and healthier for it. At Sky Zone, or one of the many imitators popping up around the country, you can pay around $10 to jump around for an hour. This includes play on the dodgeball courts, or just hopping on the open area trampolines. For the ultimate workout, rent a private court with 12+ of your best (or worst) friends, and just try to play continuously for an hour. Sky High Sports, a Sky Zone competitor, claims you’ll burn 1,000 calories per hour pretending you are a kid. If you are not having fun playing trampoline dodgeball, you must be suppressing sad childhood memories. Note, don’t make the mistake this author did, wear athletic clothing. Jeans are fashionable for a get together with friends, unless the gathering is on a dodgeball court, and then you sweat through them. Gross.
Ever wonder how performers learn all that crazy junk they do in Cirque Du Soleil shows? They attend Circus school (required curriculum in the Eastern Block). Now, these schools are commonly popping up across the country and are open to amateurs looking for a circus career, or people searching for unusual fun (and exercise). At the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts in Seattle, students can attend a range of classes including trapeze, wire walking, and rope. A recent attendee of a day course, Cat Heller remarked, “You learn about muscles you didn’t know you had.” She attended the trapeze class and remained sore in her abs, shoulders and back for days afterward. Flying through the air, holding yourself in a pull-up position, desperately trying not to fall, will do that to you. In addition to the strength you will be building, balance and flexibility are also obvious attributes of any circus star. The Seattle has courses specifically geared towards conditioning for these performing arts. They describe the class as, “increasing strength and improving aerobic fitness in a fun circus environment.” Probably more exciting than your local spin class.
Perhaps the most natural exercise we partake in, sex can be a wonderful workout. In fact, if all workouts were as enjoyable this bedroom activity, the world would certainly be a healthier place. CalorieCount.com lists an hour of vigorous sex as burning 100 calories, based on a body weight of 150 pounds. Certainly not a lightning quick burn rate, but calories are not the only benefit of sex (duh). You can build strength as well, if you are doing it right. Consider the “Standing Wheelbarrow” position, which is just like the game you played as a kid, only much dirtier. The girl braces herself, face towards the ground with her hands while wrapping her legs around your waist. You, standing, hold your girl in the air, like she is the wheelbarrow and you are the innocent garden boy. You’ll feel this, amongst other places, in your legs, core, arms and shoulders. And that is just one position. Get creative and you’ll work muscles throughout your entire body. Of course, don’t tell the girl you only want to sleep with her because she would make a good weight for dirty workout routine. It will not go over well. As if you needed more reasons, WebMD reports that sex also lowers prostate cancer risks, relieves stress and helps you sleep better.