What’s so special about unconventional workouts and why should you abandon your routine for one of these?
Well, for starters, unconventional workouts have a lot of benefits, as they:
- Are a good way to motivate yourself.
- Make exercise fun, so it doesn’t feel like a chore.
- Allow you to challenge yourself.
- Train your whole body in surprising ways.
- Improve your confidence.
- Help you get out of a plateau.
- Give you the chance to spend more time with your loved ones.
And the list might go on. But the bottom line is, traditional workouts can get pretty boring. Strength training is great, but it’s repetitive, and the breaks between sets seem too long. Running on the treadmill or the stationary bike is brainwashing, while HIIT may end up shallow and superficial.
But if you want to reap all the benefits of these exercises without going through the boring moments, take a look at the activities below:
If your home rowing machine starts to feel too insipid, you can always try your newly-acquired skills at kayaking or canoeing. The UK is filled with these sorts of opportunities, so you can push your way through tidal streams and rapids, or admire blow holes and tall, abrupt cliffs.
Kayaking allows you to see the hidden gems of the UK, meet new people, and enjoy a good adrenaline rush. In the meantime, your body will benefit from a full-body workout, and you will push your limits, thus building more confidence.
Depending on your fitness and skill level, you can opt for a beginner, intermediate, or advanced trail. You can easily book a guide, or get some lessons first at unconventional gyms such as Kayaking London. The bonus with this gym is that the money you invest in your adventure is reinvested in community projects!
2. Kids’ Games
Isn’t being a child fun? You’re free, full of energy, and exercising is fun!
Remember the days when you didn’t have to run on the treadmill for an hour before starting your workday because your BMI is too high or your cholesterol levels are through the roof?
Remember, when it was exciting to go outside, jump, hide, and climb?
There are plenty of games you can play with your friends or with your kids, from hopscotch and cricket to British bulldog.
If you want to sneak in some HIIT and exercise your muscles more effectively, Rabble is an unorthodox gym you can try. Find the workout you love or try the intercity adventure. Who knows, maybe you’ll like it so much, you’ll decide to become an instructor!
3. Pole Dancing
If you’re like most people, throwing yourself on a pole, climbing and using your leg muscles to sit upside down all the while looking perky and sensual, feels pretty hard.
But challenge yourself with some pole dancing classes, and you’ll feel empowered! Besides the full-body workout, strength, agility, balance, and cardio, your self-esteem will be improved.
If you think your body shape, size or personality will stand in your way, think again. For instance, most of the pole dancing classes at Body Image teach people how to become more body confident. And who knows, maybe in the process you’ll learn a thing or two about seduction!
4. Running And Something Else
Running is exhilarating. It brings out all kinds of happiness hormones that make you feel good, it improves your stamina, increases your endurance, plus it gives you a chance to spend time outside.
But running has its own set of problems. You need to get in the zone. You need to make time for yourself. And, let’s face it, it can feel shallow and self-centred, especially if you choose to do this instead of spending time with your loved ones or instead of helping others.
The solution is easy: integrate running with a different kind of activity. Run with your kids. Jog from your workplace to your home, or from your home to the grocery store, instead of taking your car.
If you want to make running even more exciting, there are plenty of group projects you can take part in. You can run to collect trash or help your community. That fixes the issue of motivation, plus it gives you a chance to do something for others.
The Good Gym offers three options that combine voluntary work with running:
- Run to help older people with one-off tasks in Mission runs.
- Do Coach Runs and spend some time regularly with an isolated older person.
- Try Group Runs and lend a hand in various community projects.
5. Combine A Night Out With A Workout
After you reach a certain age, you realize you have to choose between a night out and the next morning’s workout. If you like exercising on a hangover, more power to you, but that’s not how most of us function.
So why not shoot two birds with one stone? Get your body moving in a gym that recreates a night-out atmosphere, with vibrant music and glowing lights.
There are plenty of places and exercises you can try, from Disco Yoga to Clubbercise. These classes combine dances, combat moves, and toning exercises, in high or low-impact styles. You can burn up to 600 calories with one of these classes, and the best thing about it is that your kids can tag along for the Kids Combo program.
If going to the gym sounds like too much of a hassle, unleash your inner dancer at home. Turn off the lights, start some music you like and dance the night away. If you want a more structured dance workout, you can find plenty of free dance workout options on youtube, from Zumba to Ballet.
Wrestling exercises your whole body. Those punches, jabs and throwing your partner over your head puts all your muscles in motion. Not to mention you need quite some balance as not to fall. And even if you do, there’s nothing funnier than tumbling down and screaming in despair, while your partner is, of course, screaming in delight.
But wrestling looks different for each culture. You have your American and British styles right alongside the oriental Japanese and the Latino Mexican version right at the London School of Lucha Libre.
This school offers classes for beginners, intermediates, and professionals. Bonus: apart from all the core, cardio, and strength training, you also get some projection and confidence classes because life’s a wrestle, and you need to push through it.
7. Learn To Fly
Did you enjoy going to the circus when you were young? What was your favourite act? Most kids love the clowns, but the pièce de résistance is always the flying trapeze act. Those daredevils who jump in the air and roll around in free fall, managing to finally catch hold onto the trapeze at the last second fill everyone’s hearts with awe.
The good news is that you can now learn to do that. If you’re in the UK, Gorilla Circus at Regent’s Park offers lessons in flying trapeze for people of all ages. With students between the ages of 8 to 78, Gorilla Circus has a wide audience.
Regardless of your age and body shape, you can learn all sorts of tricks and tips and become more professional in the art of the flying trapeze. If you want a one-off lesson in that, the good news is you’ll do your first jump by the end of lesson one.
8. Jump Up, Jump Up, Jump Around
Remember how fun it was to jump when you were a kid? You can easily return to those days if you buy a trampoline for your backyard. These things don’t cost so much, you can enjoy them with your children or with your friends, and they give you the advantage of being outside.
NASA itself praises trampoline workouts; they say it’s the closest type of exercise that brings your body to zero-gravity so that you can work out as a true astronaut.
Jumping on the trampoline exercises your core when you try to keep your balance, while your legs get a pretty good workout from all that jumping. Your arms, chest, and upper back will get in the mix quite a lot, each time you fall and push yourself back up.
Besides, jumping is so fun; you’ll instantly be filled with adrenaline and happiness hormones.
If you don’t have enough space for an outdoor trampoline, you can try a fitness centre that offers bouncing sessions, such as the Newcastle Trampoline Park and Gym.
9. Workout With Your Kids
Working out with your kids feels like a recipe for failure. The younger they are, the worse they are with showing up for a workout at the decided time. They don’t follow through with all the exercises, they want to cuddle when you’re doing your mat exercises, and they will generally interrupt you to ask for a snack or to wipe their butts.
But change your mindset, and you can do all sorts of workouts with your kids that will feel like quality time. Try throwing a ball with your toddler, and we guarantee you’ll be the one running after the ball for most of the time.
You can also use your baby as a weighted vest if you have a baby carrier – they will get a snooze, and you can do your squats.
Biking and hiking with your kids are also good ideas.
Make things fun for them, and do some animal walks to exercise your whole body. Pretend you’re a bear and walk in all fours from a downward dog-like yoga position, or do the crab walk to exercise your triceps and core.
And, have you ever tried crawling like a snake? We guarantee your muscles will be sore for days!
10. Become A Jedi
Grab a cheap PU lightsaber and have fun with your kids and loved ones. Shuffling your feet while you’re in a quarter squat, all the while trying to hit your opponent gives your entire body a good challenge. You will learn how to keep your balance; you will improve your endurance, as well as your strength. Besides, it’s a fun way to spend your free time, especially if you’re a Star Wars fan.
Fighting with a lightsaber can be an efficient way to work out, especially if you’re going to an unconventional gym like Silver Sabres.
The combat sport of LED sabre is an exciting fusion of theatre and martial arts. You will learn mindfulness, discipline, and body awareness, while you fight your opponent in full costume! And if you’re a history geek, you can learn more about the gladiatorial approach, as well as traditional weapons training.
11. Try The Military Approach
Everybody knows that military gets the best training and discipline. Regimes used by the British Army, Navy and Aerial Forces are competitive, challenging, and high-intensity.
The UK is sprinkled with places that offer military-style boot camps, where HIIT is fun. These places build a sense of community, and they increase your self-confidence because you learn new survival skills.
If you’re a Bear Grylls fan, now’s your time to work out with him. You don’t need any equipment, and you get to meet your hero! This is going to be challenging, especially because the high-intensity workouts are held outdoors, rain or shine, on grass or mud.
Parkour is still a thing, and you can try it yourself. You will swing, climb, jump, roll, free-run, and crawl your way to the finish line.
Parkour exercises your agility, balance, stamina, and endurance. You will get a pretty decent total-body training, so you can improve your strength and release your stress through an exciting, adrenaline-rushing activity.
There are plenty of parkour groups and clubs throughout the UK. You can join one of those, meet interesting new people, and try your hand (and feet!) at challenging courses with different obstacles, depending on your level.
Going to the gym doesn’t have to be boring at all. In fact, you don’t have to go to a gym at all to challenge yourself. The whole point of the activities above is to push your limits, have fun, and become more invested in your community.