Don’t like running? Here are 10 other paths to fitness
You do not have to go running to get fit and there are plenty of interesting alternatives
Philip Moore, Dublin Draíochta Dragons, gets in a shot past the challenge of Allen Kinnin, Northern Wyverns from Belfast, during the Irish Quidditch Cup at Fairview Park, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Are you someone that really does not like to run? Fitness doesn’t always have to involve running, there are plenty of ways to get fit, tone up and improve your wellbeing without having to drag yourself out for a run if it’s really something you don’t enjoy doing.
Take a look at just a few of the alternative on offer.
1escape Health Club in Dublin holds these classes. All you need to bring is your swim suit or trunks and a swim cap, the club provide you with shoes. “It’s basically a spin class times five but it’s done in the water. It uses the resistance of the water, the faster you pedal the harder it gets. Not only are you working your legs, you’re also using your upper body as well with a mixture of press ups and holds.” says Dave Hand. A mixture of weights and mitts are used to add more resistance, making sure you work your full body. Email email@example.com for class times and prices. (oneescape.ie)
I’m not sure about you but if I see a trampoline I can’t help but go and jump on it so this class would really suit me. Rebounding is done on personal sized trampolines and has some really great health benefits, as Peter Kirwan explains, “It stimulates 191 per cent more muscle fibre, it helps increase metabolism by 14 per cent, it will also lessen the impact on your joints by 85 per cent and also improves lymphatic system function.”
Apparently bouncing on the rebounder sends 120 endorphins to your brain every minute, what’s not to like? Super Jump is based in Co Waterford, email firstname.lastname@example.org. (superjumprebounding.ie)
An activity that the whole family can get involved in is bouldering. It’s a fun activity and gives the kids a chance to climb on something they are allowed to and the adults a chance to connect with an activity from their youth.
“Bouldering is without ropes so it’s done at a lower level with crash pads underneath you. We have a kids area, best suited to 3-7 year olds, our main area starts from 5 year olds to adults. It has unlimited health benefits, full body workout, giving you strength and stamina,” says Lucy Mitchell of Boulder World Belfast.
They offer taster sessions for adults and kids and can be contacted on email@example.com (boulderworldbelfast.com)
If you have ever dreamt of running away and joining the circus then now is your chance! Galway Community Circus offers adult aerial classes which includes all manner of circus skills including trapeze and rope climbing, explains Ulla Hokkanen, “All those kind of circus skills that you would have seen in Cirque du Soleil or any of the Irish touring circuses. In terms of fitness benefits, the circus skills you can take it as far as you like. It’s quite challenging and it develops your core strength drastically. Each class entails physical conditioning and stretching. The classes are fun, you go home relaxed and you go home having done something you didn’t think you could do, it empowers people.” They also run family circus classes and you can get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org (galwaycommunitycircus.com)
If you every wanted channel your inner Harry Potter then this is for you. Admittedly it does involve running but you have a broomstick between your legs so I say that doesn’t count, anyway you will have so much fun you won’t even notice you’re doing it. Here’s a rundown of the game from Quidditch Ireland President Stefan Scheurer, “It’s like a mixture of rugby and dodgeball, we can tackle each other. There are chasers, they throw the ball through one of the three hoops and there are beaters, that’s where the dodgeball element comes in, as you can tackle other players, but you can also just hit them with the dodgeballs that we are using.” Details of your local team can be found on the Quidditch Ireland Facebook page.
Roller derby is a fantastic way to increase your fitness and of course is great fun if you like skating.
Caroline Brady from Limerick Roller Derby explains the benefits, “Definitely great cardio, you’ll gain co-ordination and muscle fitness as well so it’s definitely resistance training. You don’t have to come to us fit but you have to be willing to get fit. Obviously when you’ve eight wheels under your feet, the stronger your core and your muscles are, the less likely you are to have strains and sprains.”
All teams in Ireland offer a beginners programme and there are leagues in Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Wicklow, Galway, Dublin and Belfast. Limerick Roller Derby can be contacted at email@example.com
Rip60 and Spin Combo
Rip60 suspension training is definitely one of my favourite ways of training, its low impact on the joints and leaves your body ripped, especially your core. Brian Corcoran combines Rip60 with a spin class at his gym in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, and here is why. “It’s a low intensity, low impact class which is very good for flexibility and mobility and you’re getting plenty of cardio in with the spinning. The combination of both, I find, is an injury and risk free class where people can still maintain a good fitness level. The beauty of the Rip60 is you could have a professional athlete and a complete beginner in the same class, the Rip60 is a one size fits all training system. You can get in touch with Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org
Another activity that the whole family can do, providing the kids are old enough to hold their own out on the trails. Ballyhoura offers a selection of trails close to the Cork, Limerick and Tipperary borders.
Liam Sheehy of Ballyhoura Trailriders says, “It’s an all-round aerobic workout good for upper body and lower body. It gives you all the benefits of cycling, fresh air, mental and physical distressing. You’re out in forestry so it means you don’t have the stress of the road and having to look out for traffic.”
There are five trails to choose from and they recommend that children be at least 11 years of age. For more info check out trailriders.ie
Again it may seem like I’m cheating adding swimming in, but I only learned to swim last year and I’m now a huge fan. Not only is it an incredibly cheap sport, once you’ve learned to swim, but it is a great way to get fit without impact on your joints. And if you are brave enough you can swim in the sea for free! Bethany Carson of Swim Ireland told me about the Swim a Mile programme. 39 pools around Ireland are involved. If you can swim 2 lengths comfortably you can enter a 10-week coached session which will result in you being able to take on the Swim a Mile Challenge. Full details can be found on swimireland.ie and you can sign up for The Irish Times’ 12-week Get Swimming programme at irishtimes.com/health
If you have been watching your favourite celebrities tone up in front of your very own eyes, on Dancing with the Stars, lately you will already know the benefits to learning ballroom dancing.
Classes are for all ages and offer a lot more than just fancy footwork as Ciara Francis of Dance Elite explains, “It’s great for the mind and the body and it helps to improve your overall fitness. You’re giving your body a whole workout without actually feeling like you are working out.
“There is also a huge social side to it which helps people’s wellbeing, making friends and improving confidence.” Dance Elite hold classes in Dublin and Sligo and you can find more information at danceelite.ie