With spending on gym memberships up 44%, it seems as though the health and fitness industry in the UK is booming. However, despite these statistics, that doesn’t mean that spending hours on the treadmill is the only way to keep fit. In fact, it appears that although more and more of us choose to head to the gym, the range of alternative ways to get fit keeps growing. We’ve put together a list of 5 fun ways to help you stay fit and healthy, that don’t include a running machine.
Although once the hobby of adrenaline junkies and daredevils, rock climbing can be a fun way to test yourself both physically and mentally. However, rock climbing shouldn’t just be viewed as a fitness fad, as it can have real benefits when done regularly as a workout exercise. The reaching and stretching carried out when climbing can strengthen muscles in both the upper and lower body, and can also help to improve stamina.
Hitting an indoor climbing wall can also be a great mental workout, as climbing walls act as a puzzle, and you’ll often need to stop and think whilst climbing to figure out the best route to the top. With over 4000 climbing walls up and down the UK, and most offering equipment for hire, rock climbing is an accessible option if you’re looking for a unique way to get fit.
For many people a workout isn’t a workout anymore unless they’ve tracked the exact route taken, the number of miles covered, any changes in heart rate, the weather conditions, what they ate for dinner that day, and then screen-grabbed the whole thing and posted it on Instagram.
If you have a set goal in mind, e.g. burning a certain amount of calories, or increasing the distance you can run, then wearable technology could help you work towards this. Especially if you’re the type of person that thrives from beating personal bests and loves self-competition. However, if you work out for social reasons or just for relaxation, then wearable tech might not be for you.
First founded in 1998, Zuu is more ‘jungle gym’ than regular gym. It has its participants engaging in a range of 30 animal movements in order to get a full muscle, aerobic, and anaerobic workout. With commands like “walk like a monkey”, “crouch like a frog” and “crawl like a bear”, a Zuu workout sounds like something straight out of a primary school P.E. lesson.
With a focus on ‘rediscovering the natural principles of movement’, Zuu aims to offer a more rounded workout than traditional weight training or cardio exercises. Through simple, low-impact movements, Zuu aims to increase the flexibility and strength of the body, enhancing mobility as a result. With around 700 calories burned per session, it is a fun and effective excuse to act like a kid again.
With names like “Judgement Day”, “Spartan” and “The Suffering”, obstacle courses are marketed as tough competitive endurance activities. With some courses measuring a massive 10 miles in length, and participants will have to run, leap, crawl and climb their way through a series of obstacles. With the object being finishing in the fastest time and competing against other participants to do so.
Whilst not recommended for beginners or the faint hearted, taking part in an obstacle course could be a fun workout if you’re looking for something a little different to the average competitive race.
Being healthy is not all about physical fitness, taking care of your mental health is just as important. With roots in Buddhist philosophy, the mindfulness movement aims to help people gain a deeper understanding of how and why they think how they do, in order to promote a healthy and positive frame of mind.
This involves learning how to experience the present moment, standing back from our thoughts, and realising that they are simply “mental events” that don’t have to have control over us. Whilst this might sound a little abstract, understanding and putting mindfulness into practice can have real mental health benefits, and as such it is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as an effective treatment for anxiety and depression.
Although the most widely recognised mindfulness technique is meditation, keeping a thought diary, drawing in a colouring book, going for a walk, and even reading a good book can be effective mindfulness techniques.
Do you feel like there’s something stopping you from feeling fit and healthy? Do you want to take up new activities, but feel too tired, sluggish, or unwell? It could be that you have a food intolerance. If you think that something you’re eating might be restricting you, then why not take our food intolerance test, and get all the help you’ll need to get back on track.