5 fun ways to get fit

If the thought of dragging yourself to the gym over the winter months has you feeling less than enthusiastic about exercise, try an unconventional indoor sport that will keep you fit and motivated

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roller skates

Roller skating

Get inspired by the girls in Whip It and head out to your local rink for a boost of energy. Roller skating gives you a workout equivalent to jogging in terms of health benefits such as calorie and fat burning, and toning your legs and core. Head to a rink with your in-line skates and work on speed, leg and coordination drills such as single-leg side pushes and sprinting exercises using distance or time, recommends Libby Norris, president of Inspired Energy corporate wellness. “Roller skating is a great family activity and most rinks allow both in-line skates or the good old four wheels!”

Visit Roller Sports Canada for more info on where to get involved in your hometown.

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Sword fighting is becoming more accessible, with fencing clubs popping up across the country. Dueling and defending with your choice of three weapons (the foil, épée or sabre) is a great way to burn calories and build coordination, concentration and focus while improving reaction time, says Norris.  “Fencing is an amazing total-body sport requiring a true balance of strength and speed, while increasing body awareness and core control.”

Visit the Canadian Fencing Federation for more info on where to get involved in your hometown.

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Capoeira-an Afro-Brazilian art form combining elements of martial arts, music and dance-develops balance, motor skills, speed and strength while, reducing stress and increasing energy levels. Capoeira is less combative and more rhythmic than some other forms of marital arts, and it’s quickly growing in popularity as a fitness option, says Norris. “This unique practice is truly a total-body workout that requires a balance of physical and mental skills with focus and coordination.”

Visit www.capoeirista.com for more info on where to get involved in your area.

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Channel your inner Robin Hood with an ancient sport that’s sure to boost both your mental and physical health. Archery helps develop arm muscles and hones the flexibility of the hands and fingers because it involves keeping your bow-arm extended and elbow slightly bent. “Archery requires a great deal of skill, balance and coordination, and is a great upper-body and core workout,” says Norris. “It’s individual and competitive yet very social and supportive.”

Go medieval and visit the Federation of Canadian Archers for info on where to get involved in your hometown.

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The range of movement-jumping, twisting, stretching and pivoting-makes badminton an entertaining and full-body workout. “The racquet work makes it an obvious upper-body exercise, but the consistent and quick movement around the court creates a great cardio and lower-body workout,” says Norris. “And because it’s such a quick game, you also improve hand-eye coordination, body awareness and [strengthen] your core.”

Visit Badminton Canada for info on how to get involved.

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