Feel like you need to get moving? Then there are plenty of ways you can get a spring in your step without having to set foot in a gym or part with your cash for the latest trendy piece of fitness equipment. Luke Hawkins talks you through your options…
Get retro with your fitness routine! Admittedly you don’t see many people out roller blading in the streets these days. But this form of exercise is still alive and well. If you’re feeling tough enough and fancy gritting your teeth, you could look into roller derby – a brutal, fast-paced, physical sport with plenty of women’s teams up and down the country. Glasgow Roller Girls are based in Glasgow Caledonian’s Arc Sports Centre. If this doesn’t appeal to you then there is an altogether more funky, sparkly version of roller blading you could take part in.
Rollerstop is Glasgow’s home of roller disco. Skate around, cut some shapes, pretend you’re in a 70s crime thriller, fall over, skate around some more. Whether you’re ruthlessly barging your opponents out the way in roller derby or dissing on some jive turkey at the roller disco, this could be the alternative to jogging that you forgot existed.
Calisthenics is basically another word for bodyweight exercises. That means you will need minimal to no equipment to perform them. The most common calisthenics exercises include sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups and planking. With push-ups, the degree of difficulty can be adjusted. Go on your knees to make it easier or elevate your feet (on a box or bench) to make it harder. There are numerous other variations of push-ups and all the other aforementioned exercises to adjust the difficulty or target different muscles.
There are also much more advanced calisthenics exercises. We’re talking superhero stuff here. L-sits, back levers and human flags are all hugely impressive and can take months, if not years of training. A huge number of calisthenics exercises can be performed at home. Or you can be that guy that does them in the park, feeling the gentle breeze against their face and hearing the not so gentle insults hurled towards you by the local young team.
Don’t be that guy.
If you really want a full-body workout that tests your strength and agility, then get yourself up a massive rocky wall. This is definitely an activity that does require some supervision. Start off in some of the indoor centres that are around such as The Glasgow Climbing Centre or The Climbing Academy. These places alone should keep you entertained and challenged for a good amount of time. Once you do make the leap up in difficulty level, you’ll probably start craving bigger and better challenges and that means heading outdoors for the real thing.
Once you’re out in the big, bad, craggy, rocky world then the need for safety increases but so does the level of adventure, achievement and ability. There are many outdoor groups that have instructors, transport and some of the more peculiar bits of gear required for certain climbs. Having started out just trying to get a little bit more active, you could find yourself with a whole new hobby that you can share with a whole new group of people.
Stressed out? Angry? Tense? Take out all your frustrations on a variety of equipment designed to be punched. Boxing is open for anyone at any level, but if you get really into it, the sport can be one of the most intense exercises out there. Strength, stamina, agility and balance are all tested in boxing training. Get out the skipping ropes for some cardio, head to the punching bag to practice technique or hit the weights to build up your strength. Boxers are in phenomenal shape for a reason – their training is as tough as it gets.
If you fancy yourself in the ring, you can look for classes that will eventually see you going toe-to-toe with a sparring partner. This is completely safe and supervised and purely for the sake of putting your training into practice, with neither participant throwing full-force punches. There are classes and gyms out there that take the combat element out of boxing, so the punchbag is the toughest opponent you’ll face. It always helps when there aren’t punches coming back at you.
Parkour might have had its heyday a few years ago now but just because it isn’t fashionable anymore doesn’t mean it isn’t still good exercise. The French call it parkour, the British call it free running, others call it jumping around stuff. No matter what level of skill you have, there will always be a lot of running and jumping involved in parkour so you will definitely get a real workout. When done well, the sport can look seriously impressive and it encourages a high level of stamina, agility and core strength.
Parkour can be dangerous but if you know your limits and practice in safe places such as Movement Park sports complex in Glasgow, you can enjoy one of the more unique ways to exercise.
If you’ve got a pair of sturdy boots and some good waterproofs, then why not get some friends together and go for a hike? If you are a fairly experienced hiker then you might look at trying to bag some Munros. A Munro is any mountain in Scotland that is over 3000 feet. Of course, you need a certain amount of skill and knowledge to tackle these mountains, and the best idea is to go along with someone experienced. Your reward for making it to the top is that you get to see some of the most stunning views that Scotland has to offer.
Ben Lomond is the closest Munro to Glasgow and overlooks Loch Lomond. If Munros are a bit out of your comfort zone then you could try some Corbetts. Corbetts are over 2500 feet but less than 3000 feet. If you fancy a day trip, then the summit of Goatfell on the Isle of Arran offers great views of the west coast of Scotland.
Hardcore hikes sound a bit too treacherous? Then perhaps the gentler activity of walking or jogging might suit you better. Ambling along to your friends’ place or staggering from bar to bar doesn’t count. Make an effort: get yourself going at a good pace and stride along with real purpose to burn off some calories. Glasgow canal to the north of the city, riverside paths cutting right through the centre of town or the countless parks dotted around the place provide ready-made routes for you to carve out your favourite path.
Otherwise, you can design your own routes. It could be through the most picturesque places round about you or it could even be your commute to and from work, college or university if they’re within reasonable distance. The key to making this work is to open your eyes and use your imagination.