Let's face it: Exercise can get kind of tedious. You spend copious amounts of time at the gym, doing the same routine. You run every day around the same block. You've realized that taking care of your body feels repetitive and shockingly similar to work. Exercise is supposed to be fun and rewarding. What happened?
Maybe it's because you're engaging in the same activities that everyone else is doing. Jogging, lifting, even yoga — they've all hit the mainstream fitness craze. There’s nothing wrong with them, but if it’s all you do then you might need a break to keep motivated. How about changing it up a little and trying out a new, unique sport? Ever tried fencing, water polo or skimboarding? Now's your chance. Read on to learn more about some new activities you can use to stay in shape.
If you want a challenging sport to try, look no further than water polo. It's like soccer, but you can only use your hands and you must tread water constantly.
Players swim 4 miles per game without touching the bottom. Talk about a workout! Water polo improves cardiovascular health and burns tons of calories. All muscle groups are used when swimming, passing, shooting and changing direction in the water.
Get your swashbuckling skills ready — fencing is basically sword-fighting, but without the risk of injury. You can fence with three classes of weapons: the foil, sabre and epee. They range from lightest to heaviest, and target different areas of the body.
Fencing is a quick sport, which means it's great for cardiovascular exercise. Fencing tones and conditions the body and improves muscle strength. Since it involves a lot of stamina, it strengthens the heart and lungs, as well. Once you learn it, it makes watching the Olympics a lot more entertaining too.
Live near a beach, but don't have the guts to become a surfer? No problem — that's what skimboarding is for. Skimboards are thin, flat boards that skim along the thin water of breaking waves. You throw the board down, hop on and glide. It also costs less than surfing and can be done without huge waves.
Once you learn how to skimboard, you'll also improve your balance. Like skateboarding, it requires proper coordination. You can also improve your endurance and stamina, because you have to sprint fast to catch the waves that are going back out.
This sport is very similar to football, except you use a Frisbee — and it's not a contact sport. You pass the disc back and forth to teammates until you score in an end zone.
Ultimate Frisbee is great for cardio because you run the length of a soccer field to score in the opposing team's end zone. You also work a variety of muscles and gain flexibility by reaching, throwing and diving for the Frisbee.
It's cheap, portable, time-saving and healthy. Would you rather run an eight-minute mile or jump rope for 15 minutes? Both burn the same amount of calories.
Peter Schulman, MD, of the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, says it's great for your heart. "It strengthens the upper and lower body and burns a lot of calories in a short time ... if done properly, it's a lower-impact activity than jogging," Schulman told WebMD.
Your old board is probably sitting in the garage right now. Go pull it out! Even if you've never owned a board or set foot on one, skateboarding is a relatively easy activity to pick up. It also provides a healthy, quick mode of transportation.
According to Health Fitness Revolution, skateboarding offers a wide range of health benefits. You can become more flexible, improve your coordination, burn more calories and relieve stress simply by riding. You don't even have to do tricks — just take a cruise and relax.
If you're sick of your current workout routine, don't be afraid to give these sports a try.