Sick of exercising on land? Here are three sports to get you up off your feet – and the ground.
Super social and a great balance builder, slacklining looks a lot like tight rope walking – though you do it on a special type of webbing that comes in various thicknesses and lengths. You can easily sling up your line between two sturdy trees or posts, making it portable and a must pack for your next picnic.
You can use truck strapping, though a purpose slackline makes for a much better experience. A basic model, perfect for beginners or social days at the park will set you back around $100. If you’re keen to give it a go without the investment, there are plenty of slacklining groups around Australia you can find through Facebook (literally type it into the search bar), or next time you see a group congregated around a line at your local park, ask for a try – ‘slackers’ are usually v social creatures.
As well as a great way to break up your routine – or add to an existing one, slacklining really works the core muscles. Balance and concentration are key to staying on the line, so you’ll find it works like yoga and pilates to strengthen your body. A huge bonus is the sport has no end; once you master a level, you can lighten or lengthen your line, or you can learn tricks – people can do flips and land on their line, or walk over water, for example.
Aerial (or antigravity) yoga
This one takes you from pure exhilaration to ultimate relaxation in the twist of a yoga hammock – one minute you’re flipping your body up and over your hammock, leaning into a handstand, the next cocooned in it, swinging gently at the end of your session. Ariel yoga basically incorporates exercises inspired by yoga, Pilates, calisthenics and aerial acrobatics in a hammock-like apparatus.
Like slacklining, there is no minimum ability to get started and enjoy, nor is there a limit to what you can learn. And as with pole-dancing, you can rig up the equipment at home (which can again set you back a few hundred dollars), but classes are both more sociable and recommended for the newly initiated – and certainly easier and safer than finding a point high enough to anchor your hammock so you don’t knock your noggin!
Once the realm of a sleazy night venue, the ‘stripper pole’ has remained a popular workout with all types of people from various fitness levels for almost a decade. Make no mistake, working the pole is seriously hard work, and you’ll be lucky to walk without ‘ouching’ after your first few sesh’s. Arm strength gets a serious workout, but it’s also a great all round calorie burner, and claims to get you ‘in touch’ with your body.
While you can work out from home with a removable pole – they cost in the hundreds to buy, your best bet is to get started with a beginners class. Make sure you wear clothes that won’t fall over your head while upside down, and pants short enough to allow you to grip with the back of your knees – which will be bruised by the time your first class is out! Don’t wear what I did to my first session; these places are far from sleazy, and gym gear more suitable that heels and sequins.