So you’ve committed to staying active on a regular basis this year, but you’re not exactly thrilled about hopping on a treadmill, lifting free weights or signing up for a yoga class. Luckily, that’s okay.
Exercise is supposed to be fun, so you’re on the right track if you’re looking for something that fits your style. The more enjoyment you can get from exercise, the more likely you’ll make it stick as a habit — and not a chore.
You may even find that a seriously wacky workout is the best kind of exercise. Alternatives to the traditional gym routine can challenge you to move in ways you haven’t subconsciously associated with the dreaded pain and agony of difficult exercise. Instead, you’re free to get curious and try out new movements.
Here are just five super weird and unusual forms of exercise to consider sampling this year.
According to at least one chiropractor, crawling is the new planking, and it’s one of the best exercises you can do if you’re totally out of touch with your body. Crawling like a baby apparently helps people reset their bodies by experiencing innate forms of movement that are typically experienced — but forgotten — during youth.
Similar to planking, crawling can help improve strength and mobility in all areas of the body. Beginners can simply start by crawling exactly how a baby would and then intensify the motion as they improve. More advanced crawlers may lift their knees, so they’re just crawling on their hands and toes.
2. Circus training
If you’re not afraid of heights and looking to get a serious core workout without having to do a bazillion sit-ups, consider joining the circus. Circus training workouts like aerial movement, trapeze swinging, trampolining and tightrope walking are becoming increasing popular forms of exercise, as more circus studios open up to offer circus-specific classes.
Try doing a Google search in your local area for circus schools, circus studios or gymnastic studios that offer circus training. This is one of those forms of exercise where you’ll need to be taught proper and safe technique by a professional with access to appropriate equipment.
Inspired by the horizontal bar that ballet dancers use to practice dancing, barre is a trendy way to workout that combines aspects of dance, pilates and strength training — all while improving balance and flexibility too. It’s the type of workout worth trying if you want the benefits of yoga, without the yoga.
Pure Barre has hundreds of locations, but you can look for yoga or gymnastics studios in your area that offer barre classes as well. And if you have a stairway banister or railing at home – without putting yourself at risk of tumbling down the stairs — you could also do a search on YouTube for free barre workouts to do by yourself.
Remember Hula Hoops as a kid? Even if you haven’t picked one up in decades, relearning how to swing it around your waist can be a great core workout that’s fun too. And when combined with pilates to make it ”hoopilates,” you get the extra challenge of trying to work other parts of your body while you maintain your posture and balance.
Given that the trend isn’t quite as big as barre or circus training, it may seem nearly impossible to find a place that specifically offers hoopilates classes. But you may have some luck looking online for video tutorials — like this one. As long as you have a Hula Hoop, you’re pretty much good to go.
5. Foam Rolling
Foam rolling is a form of recovery that compliments stretching, and it’s best done before or after a workout. It involves self-massaging the muscles with a cylindrical piece of equipment made of foam. Fitness enthusiasts claim the practice can help improve strength and flexibility while reducing muscle soreness.
Foam rollers come in all sorts of different shapes, sizes and colors. You can find them at athletic stores or online. Just be sure when you get yours that you don’t make some of the most common foam rolling mistakes.
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