5 Non-Traditional Fitness Alternatives
By Mikkie Mills
While getting into shape is something everyone needs, finding the motivation to put in the work can be a tremendous challenge. There are a number of reasons why a person might struggle to stick with a fitness routine, but some people actually get bored with conventional fitness programs. Fortunately, there are alternatives for those who can’t find enjoyment in running on treadmills or lifting weights. Here are some non-traditional ways to get in shape...
- Fitness Boot Camp
Boot camp-style workouts have increased in popularity, in recent years. This is largely due to the fact that they target all the major muscle groups, burn lots of calories and require little (if any) equipment. Inspired by rigorous military training methods, they’re designed to provide all-around fitness by increasing strength, speed, power, agility and balance.
The wide variety of exercises helps keep the workouts interesting, especially for those who are looking for something different. If there are no boot camp groups in your area, you can always look for sample routines online and tweak them to create your own.
- Obstacle Course Races
One of the biggest benefits of signing up for an obstacle course race is that you’ll have to start getting into shape right away. These events are so rigorous that no one would consider showing up unprepared on race day. This is ideal for someone who wants to get into shape and knows they will have to push themselves to prepare for an event that will either make or break them.
Obstacle course training will improve your balance, flexibility and mobility. You’ll soon notice vast improvements in functional fitness, which will make the execution of daily tasks much easier. Obstacle course training will also provide a tremendous boost to your immune system.
Some people don’t like conventional fitness programs because they would rather exercise outdoors. This makes hiking an ideal solution. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up, while taking in some fresh air and communing with nature.
Hiking works your heart, lungs, blood vessels, muscles and bones. It can help reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as certain cancers. Note that outdoor activities like hiking are also a great way to elevate your mood, especially if you suffer from depression.
- Martial Arts
While there are a number of reasons to learn martial arts, it turns out they’re a great way to get fit. Martial arts help tone and strengthen the muscles, while simultaneously demanding a great deal of flexibility and agility. You can expect improved stamina, posture and weight control, provided you stick with the program.
There are many types of martial arts to choose from. Some focus more on punching and kicking, while others rely on leverage and grappling. Regardless of which one you learn, they all involve similar types of movements. For this reason, they all require stretching, a vigorous warm-up routine and specific types of exercises to condition the body for combat.
- Rock Climbing
While it may sound difficult, people of all ages take part in rock climbing. The sport involves the use of multiple muscle groups, making use of both the upper and lower body. Regular climbing will increase your stamina, flexibility, strength and agility, making it a great non-traditional fitness alternative.
Indoor rock-climbing facilities make the sport more accessible for people who may not have access to suitable outdoor climbing areas. It’s only as risky as the climber allows, since there are various levels and styles to choose from. Joining a climbing club is a great way to get access to the best indoor facilities, meet other climbers and find partners.
Note that your body will require a higher level of nutritional support to keep up with these demands. Focus on eating more whole foods and vegetables, while cutting back on processed foods. Your diet should consist of 20 to 30 percent protein. If you’re on a vegan diet, a dairy free protein powder will do the trick.
Remember that you can’t expect to gain much from any exercise program if you’re not interested enough to stick with it. So if you’re bored of the same old routines, consider trying one of the options above. You may find yourself more motivated to work out than you ever were before.