Physical activities are a fantastic way to stay active, get fit and improve your health. If you’re not into traditional exercises such as gym training, running, HIIT classes and the like, sports and other physical activities are the best way to keep moving and maintain general health and wellness.

In this article we’ve included 18 types of physical activities that will make exercise and fitness fun! Add a bit of adventure here and there to mix things up and get outdoors too.

Let’s get into it…

Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)

Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) has been around for thousands of years. Originally out of necessity for fishing or traveling, it quickly became a fun activity as well as a symbol of status.

As well as allowing you to enjoy the water, SUP is a great physical activity that is a real full-body workout each time you get out on the water. You can have fun with your friends as well as get a tan and become incredibly fit so you can achieve the dream body you have always desired. As an alternative to surfing or to practice your yoga moves, stand up paddle is heaps of fun!

The History Of Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Ancient coastal cultures have been using boards and small vessels for as long as they could stand on their own two feet. Boards were an excellent way to travel on rivers and ocean shores. In Africa, people have been standing on paddles carrying spears to catch fish.

Paddles are a very efficient and quiet way for warriors to travel along small rivers into enemy territory. The very first evidence of stand up paddling was found on three thousand year old remains of pottery from Peru. The coastal town of Chan Chan, was the largest Pre-Columbian city in South America.

Fishermen stood on small crafts now called ‘caballitos de totora’ meaning ‘little horses made of reed’. Bamboo was used as a paddle and, after fishing they would have fun surfing the waves on their way back home. The coastline of Peru is still very popular with surfers.

Stand up paddle as a sport originates from Hawaii and has Polynesian roots. Hawaiians call it ‘Ku Hoe He’e Nalu’ which literally means ‘to stand, to paddle, to surf a wave. After a ritual, a board was carved out of koa tree. The size depended on social status, the royalty owning five metre long boards. Common villagers used boards which were no longer than three metres.

After the Second World War, Hawaii became a popular tourist destination.  Local beach boys started teaching surfing. They would stand up and paddle when the surf was quiet, or take pictures of surfers.

SUP only officially started taking off as a sport since 2005 and is becoming more and more popular. The first SUP race was held in Lake Tahoe, California, in 2007. The first Standup World Series championships were held in Hawaii in 2012.

The Benefits Of Stand Up Paddle

SUP is an intense overall workout and involves both aerobic and strength training. The intensity of your workout depends on the water you paddle. Quiet waters provide gentle exercise, while choppy water are more challenging.

As your endurance and balance improve, you will tone and strengthen your legs. You will also workout your core and back muscles. Because you also use your arms to paddle, you will gain strength and muscle tone here too.

SUP is a low impact activity and therefore it’s gentle on your joints, tendons and ligaments. For the same reason, it is ideal for people in rehabilitation who want to get back into fitness. Lastly, SUP is a perfect stress relief as water is known to be very soothing.

How To Get Started With Stand Up Paddle Boarding

It is easy to get started as nearly any body of water can become your playground. In pleasant weather, you can wear shorts and a t-shirt or swimmers. In winter, you will need to wear a wetsuit or a dry suit. Also wear a personal flotation device (PFD).

Due to it being a growing industry, there are now many types and sizes of boards available depending on your needs as well as your weight and expertise.

There are boards designed for flat water, river, racing, fishing and even yoga. According to experts, your paddle should be 15 to 25 cm taller than you. Stop by your local surf store and have a chat with an expert before you make any decisions and invest in the perfect board and paddle for you. You certainly will not regret it.

Most SUPs have a built-in handle for easy transportation to the water. To keep your board close to you in case you fall off, it’s a good idea to purchase a leg rope (leash).

Before getting wet, do some research on the local waters and weather conditions. Beginners should start on flat water. At first you might want to kneel on your board until you feel confident enough to stand up.

Once you are standing on your board, your feet should be parallel hip-width distance apart centered between the edges. And avoid staring at your feet but look at the horizon.

You should carry a safety whistle and light if you are going to paddle after sunset. If you are not confident yet, you can also join a club to get private lessons and rent the equipment. Don’t forget your sunglasses and apply sunscreen!

For more info on clubs and events, check the SUP Australia (SUPA) website.

Martial Arts

Martial Arts refers to various systems and traditions of physical combat, although, these days is mostly used for general health and fitness training, self-defence, competition, entertainment as well as mental and spiritual development. It’s one of the most complete physical activities you can undertake at just about any age.

The history of the many Martial Arts varies from one art to another, but they were all originally invented for one purpose: defend oneself from intruders and defeat the opponent. As a martial artist, you will be in the best shape or your life. Martial arts can be divided into three variants: light, medium or full contact. Depending on your style, take your pick!

The History Of Martial Arts

Martial Arts including boxing, wrestling or spear fighting were depicted in ancient art and literature from as early as 3000BC in Egypt, Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia or Vietnam. In Persia, Koshti (wrestling)  and Varzeh-e Bastani (calisthenics and martial arts) were taught in schools from as far as 100BC.

In Arabia and Middle East, the ideals of honour and chivalry met with the traditions of horsemanship, grappling and armed combat including archery. In ancient China, the general Huangdi wrote about martial arts, before becoming Yellow Emperor and initiating Chinese civilisation, around 2000BC.

Chinese and Indian martial arts have a lot in common due to people travelling along the Silk Roads from as far back as 600BC. According to legend an Indian monk, Daruma, created Zen Buddhism inspiring the combat arts of the Shaolin monks who had to defend themselves from bandits in 610AD.

In India, the Kama Sutra advised women to practice sword fighting and archery. In the fourth century, Ayurvedic medicine was taught alongside martial arts and included the knowledge of attack and defence of vital points on the body.

In Japan, the use of weapons was restricted to members of the warrior class. From the twelfth century, samurai trained to be masters in combat. In 23BC, Jujitsu was born and  Sumo existed since the third century.

The earliest European martial arts manual, the MS. I.33, was written by German monks around the thirteenth century. Wrestling, Fencing and Jousting were very popular.

There is also a tradition of martial arts in the Americas. For example, in Canada, Okichitaw involved the use of a bow, knife, lance, tomahawk as well as grappling and striking. In Brazil, Capoeira, originating from Africa, has been around for five hundred years demanding flexibility and endurance.

In Africa, throwing knives have been used in combat for centuries. Also wrestling is popular in West Africa, while stick fighting is important in Zulu culture in South Africa.

Types Of Martial Arts

Dueling sword, Wrestling, Savate (Kick Boxing) and Fencing where popular when the West became interested in East Asian martial arts in the nineteenth century. On his return from Japan the British railway engineer, EW Barton-Wright, taught Asian martial arts in Europe inventing Bartitsu (a mix between Jujitsu, Judo, Boxing and stick fighting).

In the early twentieth century, Judo inspired the creation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Aikido.

In the 1930s, modern rules from International boxing were incorporated in Muay Thai, the Thai fighting art which was already centuries old. The 1970s and 1980s saw a growing interest in martial arts, like Kung Fu and Karate, as featured on many movies at the time.

Latest types of martial arts competitions include the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the USA, and the PRIDE in Japan also known as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

Various martial arts used in the police or military forces involve Krav Maga in Israel, San Shou in China, Kombato in Brazil, Rough and Tumble (RAT) in South Africa. In the Olympic games you find Wrestling, Boxing, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Fencing, Archery and Javelin. Wushu failed to take part so far, but is going strong.

Benefits Of Martial Arts

The main benefits of becoming a martial artist are self-defence and supreme fitness. As you learn to defend yourself, you get a full body workout and strengthen all your muscles. As you get stronger and leaner, you will greatly improve your coordination and flexibility.

Martial arts are hard work but truly rewarding as you go through challenges, breakthroughs and setbacks. You will learn about your strength and how to make the best of your weaknesses. You will also learn about focus and stillness. In the world we live in, it is increasingly difficult to be silent within ourselves, to live without distractions.

Training in Martial Arts provides many mental advantages, one of which includes conflict resolution in your personal and professional life. Classes are sometimes full contact, therefore the earlier you accept the fact that you will get hit during class, the earlier you can relax and start learning to defend yourself thus enabling you to anticipate and better respond.

When body and mind connect, it is easier to control your emotions and fear. As a result, you gain confidence and respect towards self and others as well as self-knowledge. While learning discipline, you meet awesome people and enjoy the camaraderie you find at your local club.

How To Get Started With Martial Arts

It’s so easy to start as martial arts clubs are increasingly more accessible. There are many types of martial arts depending on your needs and personality. It can be confusing choosing the right one but don’t feel intimidated and be sure to try before you make a decision.

To help you make that decision consider why you want to learn a martial art. For example, Jujitsu for self-defence, Kung Fu for physical fitness, Naginata for self-confidence or Taekwondo for discipline and self-control. Or maybe you have a cultural interest.

Do not feel pressured to stay if you want to leave and try something else. So it’s preferable to pay a monthly membership rather than commit to a yearly membership. And you will be surprised at how friendly people are. Clubs welcome people from all ages and levels of fitness, and some have a free introduction class for beginners.

Do some online research first. Not all arts will be available in your area. The reason you stay could be totally different from the reason you joined in the first place. Once you have done your homework and find the right art for you and a qualified teacher, you will definitely not regret it. It will be the best decision you have ever made!

To find martial arts schools, clubs and dojos, visit www.dojos.com.au – For the Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA).

Roller Skating

The roller skate has been around for three hundred years. And skating has proved to be not just a fun physical activity at almost any age, it’s also hip and even glamorous. While out skating it’s hard to believe that you are in fact working out at the same time as it can be one of the best aerobic exercises. As a bonus, you will get those toned legs you always desired.

On your own or with friends, as a mode of transportation, exercise or just for a day out with the family, skating is easy to enjoy come rain or shine. If you’re looking for a fun way of keeping fit, roller skating could become your thing!

The History Of Roller Skating

The first official invention of the roller skate was in 1760 by a Belgian inventor called John Joseph Merlin. However, ‘skeelers’ or dry-land skates were already used throughout the eighteenth century in the Netherlands where ice skating over the frozen canals is very popular.

The Dutch then found a way to keep practising their ice skating skills in the summertime after the ice had melted. The first patent was officially issued in Paris, France, by M. Petitbled in 1819. The skate resembled what we now call an inline skate as it was basically an ice skate with wheels instead of a blade.

It is not until 1863 that the first four wheeled roller skate was designed, with two wheels at the front and two wheels at the back. It was called the ‘quad’ skate. James Leonard Plimpton, from New York in the USA, made some drastic improvements and added steering. His skates we exported to twenty countries.

After Plimpton’s invention, the ‘quad’ skate kept improving throughout the years. After the toe stop was patented in 1876, the skate kept increasing in popularity as it became lighter and easier to manoeuvre. In the 1970s, during the disco era, there was a genuine roller skating revival as the roller disco became all the rage.

Benefits Of Roller Skating

Roller skating provides a complete aerobic workout, even at moderate speed. You can exercise at your own pace until you gradually increase your strength and speed in your own time.

It provides the same health benefits as jogging, while being a low impact sport with 50% less impact on the joints than running. You can burn between 300 to 600 calories per hour depending on your speed. So it can be great for weight loss if you combine regular skating with a sensible diet.

It is an awesome cardiovascular exercise and involves nearly all the muscles in your body. You will tone most of the main muscle groups including the calves, glutes, quads, abdomen and even the arms.

Regular skating will not only improve your strength and give you perfectly toned legs and abs, it will also improve your endurance, balance, agility and coordination. There are also mental benefits to skating. Exercise in general does wonders for the mind.

It’s a great stress relief and mood enhancer. As you skate outside, you can enjoy the fresh air and feel the wind on your skin. Skating can be a social activity and the perfect way to spend quality time with your friends and family, so it can improve your relationships while you improve your skills and learn new tricks.

And let’s admit it, skating is so much fun that it does not feel like a workout at all!

How To Get Started With Roller Skating

First you will need to buy roller skates your size. They must be comfortable but also give you enough support around the feet and ankles. Additionally, you need to find the right size helmet as well as a pair of wrist guards and knee pads for extra protection.

This will give you more confidence and, as you feel safe and comfortable, you will be willing to improve your performance. Check out your nearest sports store as the staff there will be more than happy to help you chose the right equipment.

There are many tutorials on the internet and it’s a good idea to go out skating with an experienced friend the first time you go out there.

Relax, take your time and do not feel you have to keep up with experienced skaters on the first day. Roller skating can be done just about any time of the year and anywhere. It can be practised outdoors at the park and paved exercise pathways when the weather allows. On a rainy day, you can head to your local roller skating rink where you can rent a pair of skates.

While you skate to the music under the lights, making friends on the way, before you know it you will have been skating for hours. Who would have thought a workout could be so pleasurable. It might become your favourite form of exercise and you will never want to take your skates off!

For the Australian Roller Sports Federation visit www.skateaustralia.org.au

Windsurfing

Windsurfing is so much fun and there is not a dull moment as it’s never the same twice. It’s a great outdoor physical activity and a very popular sport practised by people of all ages.

We are lucky enough that Australia provides a climate which is very favourable to outdoor sports and some of the best windsurfing spots in the world. So, it would be a shame not to take full advantage of it!.

Learning to windsurf has never been easier with the development of new improved boards which help to improve the transition from beginner to intermediate. If you like surfing and sailing, as an amateur or a professional, then windsurfing is for you. Plus it’s a complete body workout as you become at one with the water. What more to ask!

The History Of Windsurfing

Polynesians have been using sailing boards of various shapes and sizes for thousands of years. However, windsurfing as a recreational sport only started in 1948 when a young American husband and wife team, Newman and Naomi Darby, built a small catamaran style board mounted by a handheld sail.

After many years of practice, in 1964, Darby had perfected their invention which by then included a universal joint connecting a kite shaped sail to the board making it easier to control and use.

The sailboard was invented and, although the Darby’s did not patent their creation, they take all the credit for its creation after Newman wrote an article about it in 1965. With the help of his brothers, Newman set up Darby Industries to manufacture the boards.

Between the mid to late 1960s, Californian friends Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer developed the concept including a rotating sail, a wishbone boom and, in 1970, finally patented what they called the windsurfer. Drake was an aeronautical engineer and Schweitzer was a keen surfer.

In the early 1970s, Hoyle Schweitzer and his wife Diana created the company named Windsurfing International and began mass producing the boards, made out of polyethylene. As a result, by late 1970s, the trend took over the whole of Europe.

Subsequently, the very first windsurfing championship happened in 1973. Windsurfing became an Olympic sport for men in 1984 and for women in 1992.

Benefits Of Windsurfing

There are so many mental and physical benefits associated with Windsurfing, it is hard to know where to start. Even as a beginner, you still get a fantastic workout. Learning how to stand on a board requires the use the leg muscles to balance.

To control the sail, you need to use your shoulders, forearms and lower back muscles.  At the beginning, as you may spend some time falling in the water, and pulling yourself out of the water will use a lot of arm strength.

And in terms of calorie burning, advanced windsurfers can burn up to 1000 calories per hour as recreational Windsurfers still burn around 500 calories every hour. It is a complete workout because, in order to sail the surf board over the water, you must use your body weight to push or pull the sail.

As you work your legs, back and arms, you will also use your core muscles to balance on the board. As you use many of the body’s major muscles, Windsurfing proves to be an awesome cardiovascular exercise. As you improve your skills and endurance, your cardiovascular fitness will increase therefore allowing you to windsurf for longer periods of time.

Being out on the water, taking full advantage of the sun, being at one with nature and breathing in the fresh air does wonders to your mental health too.

Outdoor exercise is a known stress reliever and can help combat depression. And, as you will travel faster on your Windsurf, you will feel so much excitement that you will barely feel that you are exercising.

So you will spend longer hours on the water which means you will lose a great deal of calories. As you become conscious of your body and feel at one with your equipment and the water, you will also feel a great sense of achievement and satisfaction as you become more skilled.

How To Get Started With Windsurfing

You must wear plenty of sunscreen and drink lots of water to keep hydrated at all times. Unlike, for example snowboarding, It takes a few attempts before getting started with Windsurfing.

You can try and teach yourself as there are many great online tutorials these days but it can take months to learn in some cases. So, the fastest and easiest way is to learn is to take lessons at a Windsurfing school which can easily be found all over the country.

They will provide you with all the gear you need including a board and couple of different size sails. There you will learn basic sailing and steering skills within hours. However, more advanced moves will require regular practice.

Firstly, beginners need to develop balance and core stability as well as learn and understand basic sailing theories and techniques. Windsurfing can be relaxing on flat water wearing simple swimmers. But it can also be more exciting to surf the big swell during a winter storm, in which case it is advised to wear a wetsuit.

After a few lessons, you can advance to a smaller board and a bigger sail. That is when you will learn about ‘planing’ when the board skims over the water. At the beach, you will meet plenty of like-minded people and you might decide to travel to new locations looking for wave breaks. From that moment on, the sky is the limit and that’s when the addiction begins!

For all information on windsurfing including clubs, schools, shops and windsurfing beaches near you check out the official Australian Windsurfing Association website.

Surfing

Surfing is one of the oldest sports in history and has been around for thousands of years. With 40,000 kilometers of coastline and countless surf beaches, the sport is very popular in Australia with people of all ages and abilities.

Now a global industry, worth ten billion dollars, includes more than twenty million surfers in the world. Surfing has it roots in the Hawaiian culture, but it is now a very important part of the Australian culture and lifestyle as well.

The History Of Surfing

There is no actual record as to when surfing was actually invented, but it has been said that four thousand years ago Peruvians already practised the sport on reed crafts which they also used for fishing.

It wasn’t until 1779 that the first report about surfing was made following the British expedition led by Captain James Cook. Lieutenant James King who was part of the expedition and partly in charge with writing Cook’s journals published his writings on the Hawaiian Islands where he witnessed the local sport.

Then, surfing was already an ancient Hawaiian tradition and ‘the sport of kings’. The very first Polynesian people who arrived in Hawaii in the fourth century AD had already exceptional knowledge of the ocean. They used belly boards and perfected the art of standing on a board in Hawaii.

Unfortunately, surfing was deemed inappropriate and was banned by British missionaries after 1821 and nearly died out, with traditional Hawaiian culture, until Mark Twain mentioned surfing in his book called ‘Roughing It’ in 1872.

In 1885, three Hawaiian princes introduced surfing to California as they surfed the San Lorenzo River. In 1910, Australian surfing was born when Tommy Walker returned from Hawaii with a cheap surf board. He became an expert surfer and even hosted exhibitions in Sydney in 1912.

Surfing became even more popular in Australia after demonstrations in Sydney from the Hawaiian swimmer, Duke Kahanamoku, who had just won a gold medal in the Olympic Games. At the same time, Hawaiians began to revive surfing only as a sport.

The main destinations for surfing became Hawaii, California and Australia. The sport grew in popularity following the 1959 release of the movie ‘Gidget’ about the life of American surfer Kathy Kohner-Zuckerman which pretty much kick-started the mainstreaming of the surfing culture and lifestyle.

Benefits Of Surfing

Surfing is a great cardiovascular activity and a complete sport. It’s also a very challenging physical activity as it combines both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Aerobic exercise involves your entire body to perform repetitive motions. While your heart rate and breathing increase to improve physical endurance, your body uses oxygen to burn carbohydrates and fat in order to produce energy.

As aerobic exercise helps promote a healthy heart and lungs as well as improving the immune system and stamina, it will increase weight loss and the distribution of oxygen throughout the whole body.

Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, targets individual muscle groups and does not require oxygen, building lean muscle mass and increasing power and strength.

t can help you strengthen the bones, tendons, ligaments and joints reducing the risk of injury. Combined with a healthy diet, anaerobic exercise can increase levels of good cholesterol. It is also great for weight management as you build endurance, you will keep burning calories even while you rest.

Surfing does not only require endurance and muscular power, but also quickness, balance and flexibility as well. While paddling works out the upper body, especially the shoulders and back muscles, standing up on the board will require strength in the legs as well as strengthen the core muscles. It demands a lot of balance.

And surfing also has great psychological benefits too. As it creates positive feelings, it will boost your mood as you enjoy the fresh air and the great outdoors.

It is a fantastic stress and tension relief. And it’s so much fun and so intense that you won’t be able to keep track of time. So you will not only look amazing, but you will feel great too. No wonder surfing has been called the fountain of youth.

How To Get Started With Surfing

Before surfing, you will need to be a strong swimmer. And, surfing is not as easy as it looks. Therefore, you will need to take a few lessons in order to learn the basics and help keep you on your feet as well as becoming aware of the safety aspects and rules.

You will need to buy the proper equipment at your local surf shop where the staff will be more than happy to provide you with all the advice you need. Firstly, it is advised to wear a wetsuit to keep you in the water long enough. And, most importantly, your board must suit your body and your needs. For beginners, longer boards are easier to stand up on.

To find out a suitable surfing spot, ask the local lifesavers. Be aware that, although the ocean is a relaxing environment, it can also be dangerous. Rips are strong currents are the cause of most accidents. You must know learn how to spot them and avoid them. And take care in the water at all times.

Please note that you will need to supplement your surfing with stretching, yoga or pilates to lengthen muscles and correct imbalances that can occur from favouring one foot over the other while surfing.

If you want that surfer beach body and would like to improve your health and quality of life, then surfing is definitely for you! For more information about surfing, how to find a club near you as well as latest news and events you can visit the Surfing Australia website: www.surfingaustralia.com

Tennis

Played as a competitive sport or as a recreational activity with friends and family, Tennis is the ideal way to improve your health, fitness, strength and agility. Tennis is a complete body workout and one of the easiest physical activities to enjoy with a partner regardless of your skill level.

As you hit the ball, your whole trunk gets a workout especially your shoulders and upper back. And, the lower body works hard too during all that running, jumping and crouching.

The History Of Tennis

It is believed a game similar to Tennis was played thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome as the word racket is very similar to the Arabic word ‘rakhat’ which means hand.

Later during the eleventh and twelfth century, French monks would play what they called ‘jeu de paume’ (or game of palms) within the monastery walls using only the palm of their hands to throw the ball which would bounce off the walls.

The French ‘tenez’ meaning ‘take’ would be shouted by the monks when they served the ball which is where the term ‘tennis’ could have come from.

As the game became increasingly popular, especially with royalty throughout Europe, it was first played indoors and in courtyards against a wall using a glove or paddle and no longer the bare hand. As the game evolved and rules were maintained, it became known as ‘real tennis’.

The sport reached its peak in the sixteenth century and the racket replaced the paddle. In 1571, the Corporation of Tennis Professionals was set up under King Charles IX of France and the first professional tennis tour was born.

Subsequently, the first codification of the rules was published by professional player Forbet in 1599. But as real Tennis was dying out, it was reborn during the nineteenth century as lawn tennis.

When Charles Goodyear invented rubber in 1850, tennis balls became bouncier and the sport had to be taken outdoors mostly on crocket lawns. That’s when, in 1874, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield patented the game of Lawn Tennis. At the time Wingfield played on an hourglass shaped court during his garden parties on his Welsh estate.

In 1877, the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club held the first Wimbledon tennis tournament opting for a rectangular court instead and introducing the basic rules that we now know.

The original scoring system of 15, 30, 45 was inspired by the clock face. The same system was slightly altered to 15, 30, 40 as it was easier to call during a game. The very first Australian Open was played in 1905 and was known as The Australasian Championships.

In 1986, white balls were replaced by yellow balls at Wimbledon so they could be more visible on television cameras.

Benefits Of Playing Tennis

There are so many physical, psychological and social benefits related to Tennis. One short term benefit is stress relief, which improves your mental state as the body produces more serotonin. Long term benefits include weight loss as an hour-long game of Tennis can burn between 400 and 600 calories.

Tennis is a great cardiovascular exercise. You can not only improve your circulatory health but also lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes as well as strengthening your bones. Additionally, as you improve your tennis skills, you will notice an increase in your coordination as well as improved balance, speed, flexibility and accuracy.

Lastly, Tennis has a social element to it as you compete with an opponent. Additionally, by joining a club you will be able to learn from the best and share a passion with like-minded people and exchange experiences and ideas. And playing doubles can improve your communication and team skills greatly.

How To Get Started With Tennis

Please note that you need to consider the following before getting started with Tennis.  It is a sport which is fast-paced and can be very demanding for the body. Therefore you will need to have strength, agility and endurance to play long matches. In this case, it is advised to train properly and prepare your body as you can put stress on your joints and muscles.

It is a good idea to join a Tennis club in order to receive the advice and the support to play Tennis safely and minimise your risk of possible injuries which can include tendinitis, inflammation as well as various strains, pulls and tears.

Tennis can be inexpensive or expensive depending on your goals.  A lot of people have access to public Tennis courts for free or at low fees. However, if you are serious on improving your skills you may want to join a club which will involve a membership fee.

Equipment including a racket can be found at your local sports store at an affordable price for beginners. However, advanced players prefer more expensive equipment. And if you wish to play tournaments, you will have to consider private lessons as well as various additional equipment and travel expenses.

Playing Tennis allows people of all ages and levels to spend more time with friends, family or meet new people. You can enjoy Tennis if you join a club for fun or for competitive matches. The choice is yours!

For more information on tennis and how to find a coach near you: www.tennis.com.au

Calisthenics

Calisthenics has been around for thousands of years and involves various types of exercises which use your own body weight for resistance and little or no equipment. You can keep fit anywhere and everywhere: at home, at your local playground or at the beach. It’s easy and it does need to cost you anything!

The History Of Calisthenics

Calisthenics is a combination of the Greek words ‘kallos’ (meaning beauty) and ‘sthenos’ (meaning strength). The ancient Greeks believed that physical well-being was necessary for mental well-being. The very first ancient Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 BC. Spartan soldiers’ workout routine included, among others, discus and javelin throw as well as combat sports like boxing or wrestling.

The influential Chinese philosopher, Confucius, was famous for stressing how beneficial exercise was. In 527 BC, Shaloin monks of China used calisthenics as a training method to prepare for combat to protect their monasteries from thieves.

The Persian Empire used calisthenics to train their soldiers in the art of war from an early age, sometimes as young as six years old.

In 264 BC, the first gladiators games were held in Rome. In Europe, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the first modern fitness movement took off in the shape of gymnastics programs.

Benefits Of Calisthenics

Calisthenics have always been around and will help you to work out your whole body depending on your needs. It includes a wide range of exercises including sit-ups, pull-ups, crunches, squats, dips, planks, calf raises, lunges, jumping jacks, sprints amongst others.

These repetitive exercises use your own body to develop muscle mass and strength, as well as burning fat and improve flexibility. When it comes to burning fat, aerobics exercises are your best bet. Being a fantastic cardiovascular exercise, it means you will be burning more calories throughout the day even while you rest.

Unlike weight lifting, calisthenics minimise the pressure on your joints. So, it’s a simple and natural way to build muscle mass and strength while protecting your body from injury.

What’s more, Calisthenics is free and can be practiced anywhere and everywhere. So you can chose to exercise from home or outside and enjoy the great outdoors. It’s an awesome stress reliever too.

Plus it’s flexible as you can design the exercises depending on your mental and physical needs. Due to the fantastic results you will notice, it will definitely improve your confidence and well-being.

How To Get Started With Calisthenics

There is no easier form of exercise than calisthenics to get started. The best news is it can cost you nothing and most of the exercises do not require any equipment. Exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, dips and squats can be done at home. You can buy additional equipment and install a metal bar at home for exercises like pull-ups.

Another place you can exercise for free, if the weather allows, is your local playground where they usually have equipment including at least a bench and a metal bar for pull-ups. Some beaches also have an area with similar types of equipment.

Otherwise, you can always join a gym where you will be able to find all the equipment you need. Additionally, you can make an appointment with a gym instructor who will be able to guide you and give you all the necessary advice depending on your fitness levels and what you want to achieve.

Also nowadays, you can find countless information on different types of exercise routines as well as videos, for beginners or advanced, on the internet including Youtube. If you want to own an eye-catching body and enjoy increased physical performance, then calisthenic training is for you!

Kayaking

Kayaks have been used for thousands of years. First as a means of survival, mostly for hunting and fishing, and now Kayaking is a great source of enjoyment and exercise for those keen on a challenging workout or a fun physical activity to do on the weekend.

From sea Kayaking to white water Kayaking, for recreational or racing purposes: take your pick!

The History Of Kayaking

Kayaks have been used for fishing and hunting by native people of the Arctic and Sub-Arctic regions in Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Siberia for four thousand years. The Kayak (meaning ‘hunter’s boat’) was personalised according to the people’s traditions and made from local materials, mostly driftwood or whale bones covered with stretched sealskin.

The Kayak made its way around Europe in the early nineteenth century where it became a sport.  Then, the sealskin cover was replaced by fabric.

In 1907, the German tailor Johann Klepper introduced the concept of mass marketing by manufacturing the folding Kayak. Kayaking then became very popular with adventure seekers and nature lovers alike.

Kayaks were also used in expeditions in the North Pole in 1926, and the South Pole in 1928, as well as the military during the Second World War. And Kayaking became part of the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936. The Olympic Games now feature over ten different Kayaking events.

The 1950’s saw the birth of the fiberglass Kayak. In the 1980’s plastic Kayaks were introduced and Kayaks are since becoming lighter and more versatile.

The Benefits Of Kayaking

There are so many physical health benefits associated with Kayaking. As you feel at one with nature and marvel at your surroundings, you will leave all your troubles behind so it is the perfect activity to de-stress.

But Kayaking will not only make you feel good, it will also make you look good. Paddling involves almost every single muscle in your upper body and your lower body too as you apply pressure with your legs at the same time while paddling.

It’s a low impact activity and will help you improve your fitness and strength. It’s a great cardiovascular exercise as you can burn up to 1600 calories in four hours.

Kayaking on your own can be meditative. It can also be the perfect activity to enjoy quality time with the whole family. Or by joining a Kayaking club, you can also make tons of new friends so it can be a great social activity as well.

How To Get Started With Kayaking

There are basic differences between a Canoe and a Kayak.  A Canoe is an open vessel where the person either sits or kneels inside and a single-bladed paddle is used. On the other hand, a Kayak is an enclosed vessel where the person sits inside with legs extended and a double-bladed paddle is used.

Basic Kayaking skills can be learned within a day. Nowadays, you can find many tutorials about Kayaking for beginners on the internet including YouTube. What you need on a Kayaking excursion depend on the environment and the waterway.

Every Kayaking club will be more than happy to provide you with all the information you need as well as the essentials: Kayak, paddle, life jacket and wetsuit if required.

Kayaking can be enjoyed on your own for a few hours during the day. But it can also be enjoyed as part of team in expeditions which can last for days (sometimes weeks).

Kayaking can be very challenging but so rewarding in the end. It can be enjoyed on lakes, rivers or in the sea, as a hobby with the whole family or as a competitive sport.  It’s so much fun! You will find more information on Kayaking in Australia, visit Paddle Australia.

Cycling

With the bicycle being environmentally friendly and new bike lanes being built across the country, it is not surprising road cycling is fast becoming the favourite exercise of many Australians.

You don’t even need to ride too hard to already feel the benefits. And on the environmental front, bikes are a cheaper and healthier alternative to the car.

The History Of Cycling

Cycling has been a popular mode of transportation throughout the world since the bicycles were first invented in the middle of the eighteenth century. It is one of the main sports which has always been featured in the Olympic Games since 1896.

Later in 1885, the English inventor, John Kemp Starley revolutionised the world of cycling when he came up with the chain-and-gearing system. Starley’s safety bicycle was a far cry from the old unstable penny farthing with its large front wheel.

At the same time, in the late nineteenth century, road cycling increased in popularity both in Europe and the United States. Road racing, as an official sport, began in 1868 and the first world championship was held in Chicago in 1893.

The earliest road bike races, like the first Tour de France in 1903, paved the way for future races throughout the world as it is still one of the most reputable to win. Ever since, the bike has never ceased to improve as it became faster, lighter and a lot safer and easier to use.

The Benefits Of Cycling

There are many reasons to take up road cycling and once you get started, you can get hooked! The main advantage is you will enjoy the great outdoors and get some fresh air. Because of this, it is a fantastic stress reliever especially if you spend most days working in an air-conditioned office.

Cycling is also easier on your joints than walking or running. This is why it is so popular with people of all ages and all fitness levels. And it is incredibly beneficial for mums-to-be. As young and old can enjoy the benefits of road cycling, it is the perfect activity to bring the whole family together.

As you burn calories fast, you will develop killer legs because those quads, glutes and calves work harder than you think. And, you may not notice, but your core and upper body will also get a workout from moving the bike around as you ride.

Biking is the perfect way to combat fatigue. You will get a real energy increase as your brain releases dopamine. While giving a boost to your immune system, you can reduce the risk of heart disease and strengthen your cardiovascular system.

Cycling will greatly increase your metabolism. So even after a thirty minute bike ride you will still be burning more calories for hours after you stop cycling. And last, but not least, keep in mind that regular biking can improve your performance at other sports as well.

How To Get Started With Cycling

First of all you will need to find a suitable bike for your size and adjust the saddle so you can sit comfortably at a reasonable height. Your knees should bend about twenty-five degrees on the down pedal stroke. A professional at the bike shop will be more than happy to help you find the correct fit for you.

It is advised that you start with some leg stretches. You will need to wear comfortable clothes and shoes as well as sunscreen and a helmet. If the weather is cool, it is a good idea to wear layers which you can take off as you warm up.

Don’t forget to carry a small backpack with enough water and snacks which are high in carbohydrates especially if you are out on long rides. Firstly do some research about cycling paths in your area. This information can be found on the internet or on cycling route maps available at camping stores.

To increase your endurance, consistent riding is the key. As you increase the length of your rides, set yourself a bigger challenge every time. You will need to up your carbohydrate intake a couple of days before a long ride.

It is important that you breakfast on carbs, protein and fats a couple of hours before you head out and stay hydrated as it will improve your performance.

If you join a road cycling club, you will be able to find riding buddies with similar stamina so you can encourage one another. So come on, it’s time to dust off the old bike and enjoy the outdoors while you build endurance and have fun getting fit. Check out Bicycles Network Australia: www.bicycles.net.au

Bushwalking

Bushwalking, or Hiking, is also called Tramping in New Zealand. Both on and off-trails, it can be easily available or it can involve quite a bit of bushwhacking.

We are lucky enough that Australia hosts some of the best trails on the planet and the second oldest national park in the world: The Royal National Park, located south of Sydney. The choice is yours and the possibilities are endless.

The History Of Bushwalking

For a long time country walks, and walking in general, were synonymous with poverty and even vagrancy. It is not until the Romantic area that people started to show more interest in simple country walks and hiking.

Romanticism, as a cultural movement inspired by Medievalism, was born in Western Europe in the eighteenth century, when writers, artist and intellectuals started protesting against the industrial revolution and urban overpopulation.

It all started when the English clergyman, Thomas West, published a walking guide to the Lake District in 1778.  His book became a huge success. A century later the famous Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, would write his travel essay ‘Walking Tour’ in 1876.

Stevenson’s book ‘Travels With a Donkey in the Cevennes’ would subsequently be published in 1879. That same year, Leslie White created the ‘Sunday Tramps’ club to promote the freedom to ‘roam’ the countryside of Northern England as most land was owned and it was illegal to trespass at the time.

This inspired the creation of the national Federation of Rambling Clubs in London in 1905. The expression, bushwalking, was inspired by the Sydney’s Bush Walkers (SBW) created in the late 1920s.

Benefits Of Bushwalking

Bushwalking is an excellent way to get fit and discovering new places, which you would have never been able to see by car. You will not just tone all your lower body but you will also exercise your core and improve your balance and strength.

Bushwalking can be a great cardiovascular exercise as you increase your pace and the difficulty of the terrain. Bushwalking is sometimes associated with other sports including swimming, kayaking, climbing and canyoning. In this case, you will tone your upper body as well. It is a fantastic way to strengthen the bones and joints as well.

As every step you take is different from the previous one, and you walk uphill and downhill, your body will use a lot of muscles that you don’t normally use in other types of exercises.

It is a great stress relief if you live a fast paced life in the city and you want to escape momentarily and recharge your batteries. Nature walks have also been proven to help with mild depression.

As it can bring challenges, at the end of the day, you will feel a great sense of achievement while your level of fitness will improve. As you become more self-reliant, and you increase the difficulty of your walks, you will improve your navigational skills.

You won’t just be learning about your surroundings, you have the opportunity to learn about native plants and your local history. Bushwalking is also the best way to spot aboriginal art and if you are lucky enough, you might meet some of the local wildlife as well.

How To Get Started With Bush Walking

Bushwalking is suitable for all ages and all levels and fitness. Do some research first about the nature of the tracks, from beginners to advanced, to ensure you find the ones which meets your needs and level of expertise.

A lot of bush walks are easy to access by public transports and are designed for beginners. But if you are aiming for a walk in more advanced terrain, you will need to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes as well as a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

And don’t forget to carry a backpack with enough water and snacks to keep you going. In some cases, you might even need to bring insect repellent or a torch. Start your walk with a few stretches.

A bushwalk can last from an hour to a few days for the more experienced. If you are going alone, it is a good idea to inform someone of your whereabouts.

If you have no previous experience, walk with friends or join a club. Club members will help you familiarise yourself with the bushwalkers code: learn the art of light packing, take care of your own safety and the safety of others with you, be self-reliant, leave no trace including taking your rubbish with you and respecting your environment.

It is a good idea to learn about park regulations and any protected areas before you get there. If you decide to go off-trail you will need to know how to use a compass and bring 1:25000 map of the local area.

Depending on the type of walk, you might need to wear a pair hiking shoes with ankle support. It is always a good idea to bring a first aid kit with you. If you go for a few days, you can find light and affordable camping equipment at your nearest camping store.

The staff at the store will be more than happy to provide you with the best advice to help you purchase all you need including a tent, sleeping bag, pots and a stove. If you are thinking about making a fire, always find out if bush fires are allowed before you head out to a specific area depending on the time of the year.

There are bushwalking clubs all over Australia and it a great way to meet like-minded people who share the same interests and love of nature. Therefore, you do not need to go solo and you will have the pleasure to exchange great stories and gain tons of experience from the experts.

Plus you will learn about walks happening around your area. You will feel privileged as you will improve your mental and physical health while enjoying some amazing scenery! Find more information on Bush Walking Australia and Aussie Bush Walking.

Indoor Rock Climbing

As more indoor climbing gyms are being built throughout the world, climbing has never been more popular come rain or shine, day or night. Indoor rock climbing is the perfect way to conquer your fear of heights and introduce beginners to climbing as it is practiced in a safe environment.

If you are looking for new experiences while getting fit, look no further!

The History Of Indoor Rock Climbing

The earliest records of rock climbing can be found on Chinese watercolour paintings as old as 400BC. Being a necessity at first, it is not until the nineteenth century that rock climbing first became a sport in Europe.

While outdoor rock climbing has been around as a sport for a while, indoor climbing is quite recent. The first climbing wall is believed to have been invented in the UK in 1964 by Don Robinson who was a physical education lecturer. Don Robinson thought of inserting rock fragments into a corridor wall.

It then became the best way to practice climbing during the hostile winter months. The first indoor climbing gym was started by Vertical World in the USA in 1987.

Benefits Of Indoor Rock Climbing

Indoor rock climbing can be a challenging physical activity but it is also a ton of fun. As you learn the techniques you will gain more physical and mental strength. It’s great for endurance, and at the same time it is one of the most complete sports because you will use all the muscles in your body including the legs, back, shoulders and arms.

You will increase your strength and muscle definition all the while improving your flexibility and agility. It’s also a terrific calorie-burning exercise and, on a regular basis, it can help you achieve or maintain a healthy body weight.

Regular climbers are known to have very low body fat percentages. And only 1.5 to 2.5 hours a week is enough to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

Climbing has many psychological benefits as well. Because the sport is known to improve your moods, it can be help reduce stress and depression. While your well-being increases, so will your self-esteem, self-control and problem solving skills while clearing your mind of all thoughts.

On the long term, as you improve your level of fitness, you will develop the concentration, determination and problem-solving skills which will help you climb longer steeper walls.

While climbing can be quite a solitary adventure, joining an indoor climbing gym is also a great way to socialise and meet people. As you will climb as part of a group you will develop meaningful friendships when you learn to trust your team members. It can also be the perfect way to bond with your friends or your significant other as you encourage each other to reach the top.

If you are afraid of heights it can be quite satisfying to be able to manage your fears knowing that you are securely harnessed and that you will spend your time mostly looking up, or planning what your next move is going to be, rather than looking down.

Plus keep reminding yourself that indoor rock climbing is one of the safest sports with the lowest injury rate compared to all other sports.

How To Get Started With Indoor Rock Climbing

If you have never climbed before, indoor climbing is the perfect way to get your started. It has never been easier as rock climbing gyms now cater for people of all ages and levels of fitness including persons with mental and physical disabilities.

It can be a challenge but you do not need to be an athlete to be able to climb. And the best part is, you do not need to rely on weather conditions when the climbing is done indoors. Plus you can also climb at night after work.

Wear comfortable clothes. Most climbing gyms will provide all the necessary equipment and some will even rent out climbing shoes. First of all, it is advised that you start with some arm and leg stretches.

It is essential that you pay attention to the training which will be provided by your instructor before you even start. So you can have fun in a completely safe environment. Instructors will ensure that all safety measures are followed by supervising.

There are different levels of steepness at an indoor climbing gym, which vary from beginners to advanced. The walls in the most advanced areas are vertical and the climbs are higher. The holds vary from big, for beginners, to smaller for the more advanced.

Gyms now provide packages including climbing, food and beverages for special events and birthday parties. As your mates cheer you on to the top, you will feel a great sense of achievement! There are many indoor rock climbing gyms throughout the country. For your nearest indoor rock climbing gym, check online with Climbing Australia

Nintendo Wii Fit

The Wii Fit became hugely popular throughout the world after it first came out in Japan in 2007. Being widely available in many homes across the planet, It has been helping many individuals and families to health and fitness ever since.

History Of The Wii Fit

The home video game console used by home gamers, called the Wii Fit, was invented by Nintendo and came out in December 2007. However, the Japanese company Nintendo has been around for a while. In fact, it was created in 1889 by a man called Fusajiro Yamauchi.

Nintendo, meaning ‘Leave Luck to Heaven’ in Japanese, started out by successfully manufacturing handmade ‘Hanafuda’ card game (or flower cards) for decades. Nintendo went on to produce different types of playing cards and with approval from Disney, in 1959, they even created cards with Disney’s characters.

In the 1960s, the company then tried their luck at all types of businesses including taxi services and love hotels until they decided to concentrate purely on toys. It’s only in the 1970s that Nintendo became the gaming company that we now know. Video games were already being played on giant computer screens since the 1950s.

In 1972, Nintendo went into partnership with Magnavox to create the first video console which could be played on a television. Throughout the 1980s, Nintendo strived to improve their games and provide the best in home consoles until the Wii fit was created by Hiroshi Matsunaga.

Benefits Of The Wii Fit

The Wii fit has been a top best-selling console game for many years and has been played in millions of homes in many countries as the game has become more and more popular. With its unique balance board, the game couldn’t be easier to use and is the perfect way to keep the whole family fit without having to leave the house.

In that sense, it is great for those with busy lives who still want to exercise but have little free time on their hands. The game can be played on your own, or with your whole family. It is enjoyable at all ages and different levels of fitness.

With over forty types of exercises, there is something for everyone. You will have a choice of yoga postures, balance movements, aerobics or strength training. The Wii fit is not only popular with the whole family but it can also be enjoyed in nursing homes due to its different levels of intensity, types of exercises and levels.

It proved perfect in physiotherapy rehabilitation as well. You will strengthen all the muscles in your body, improve your balance and well-being. You will have fun with the whole family, from the grand parents to the grand kids, while keeping fit and healthy.

The children will love the idea of playing a video game, and you can get the whole family off the couch. It’s a win-win situation!

How To Get Started With The Wii Fit

With an on-screen personal trainer there is no easier way to keep fit while staying at home. It’s so easy to get started with the Wii Fit. All you need to do is follow the instructions on the e-manual.

First you will be able to find out a lot of interesting information about yourself including your BMI, or body mass index and your Wii Fit age. What’s more? You will be able to save your progress which will enable you to improve you level of fitness as you practice your balance, yoga or aerobics skills on a regular basis.

Who hasn’t dreamt of trying yoga, or going back to aerobics classes, but never find the time? Now you can. And even more, you can train in your own time in the comfort of your own home. So, what are you waiting for? Join the Wii Fit revolution for fun with the whole family, your neighbours or your friends!

Frisbee

The flying disc, or more commonly known as Frisbee, is so light and convenient it’s hard to imagine any home without one. There is no better and easier way to keep fit and enjoy the great outdoors while having an awesome time.

For a good time at the beach, your local park or even in your own backyard. It would be a shame to miss out on all the fun! Simply for leisure with the whole family or as a team sport called Ultimate. The choice is yours!

The History Of The Frisbee

The history of the flying disc, also known Frisbee, is quite interesting in itself. It all really started with a family owned business based in Connecticut, USA. Till this day, we are still not sure if the company was named The Frisbie Baking Company or The Frisbie Pie Company.

In 1871, William Russell Frisbie took over the Olds Baking Company before he renamed it after himself. William then had this great idea. He would sell pies in reusable tin plates with the name Frisbie’s Pies printed on the bottom. So people would remember the name.

Children started playing with the plates and would throw them around at each other and shout ‘Frisbie!’. The company became very successful and started selling their cakes to many local businesses and universities including Yale University. So it did not take long before the game spread all over college campuses. To this day, Yale still insists they first came up with the idea of the ‘Frisbie’ pie tin tossing.

In 1948, Walter Frederick Morrisson and Warren Franscioni who were both war veterans from Los Angeles built the first plastic flying disk. It was both lighter and incredibly easier to throw around. The Pluto Platter, as they named it, was inspired by the flying saucer design as the UFO craze was taking over in those days.

In 1955, a company called Wham-O bought the rights and renamed the flying disc, the Frisbee. The name was still largely used in some of the country’s most prestigious college campuses.

Later in the 1960s the team sport called the Ultimate Frisbee was born.  It is officially recognised by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and is part of the World Games. It was following in the 1970s by games such as Freestyle, Fricket (a mix between cricket and Frisbee) or Disc Golf.

Benefits Of Playing Frisbee

Unless you have been living under a rock all your life, there is a chance that you have played with a Frisbee before. More or less every household has a Frisbee stored somewhere in a cupboard. It is cheap and hardly takes any space.

This is why it is a favourite at the beach or at the park. It couldn’t be easier to pack in your bag or just keep in the back of your car due its small size, light weight and flat shape.

The health benefits of the Frisbee are endless. Throwing around a flying disc seems effortless as it is so light and easy to carry. The best part is, the game can involve players from all ages and different levels of fitness.

Just think about it! Running around after a flying disc is a great cardiovascular exercise. On a regular basis, the game will allow you to keep those legs in great shape by toning the muscles as you can burn up to 400 calories per hour. Additionally throwing the disc around will shape those arms, abdominals and strengthen the muscles in your back.

Overall, it’s a great physical activity for a full body workout which will seem effortless as you have amazing fun with your family, friends or even your colleagues during your lunch break.

In that sense, Frisbee can be a great team building exercise at work and a healthy way to have an awesome time with your children on the weekend. As the fresh air is bound to make you forget about your problems and put a big smile on everyone’s face. It is a winning combination!

How To Get Started With Frisbee

The Ultimate Frisbee is a team sport and can be played either on sand or grass. There are around five players in each team on sand, and about seven players per team on grass. The sport is said to be a mixture between Soccer, American Football and Basketball.

The leisure version of the flying disc is more freestyle and can be enjoyed everywhere from the beach to your local park or even your backyard. It is the perfect way to unwind and relax while keeping fit at the same time.

It couldn’t be more simple or cheaper to get started with Frisbee. You can purchase a plastic flying disc just about anywhere from every sports shop to every department store at a cheap price.

Even your local supermarket might sell Frisbees at a bargain these days. Frisbees are also available to purchase online including on eBay. It all depends how serious you are about the sport and if you decide to play ultimate, for example, or only for leisure.

You can pretty much play anywhere. So you have no excuse. Now dust off that old Frisbee and enjoy the fun in the sun! For more information, pleases check The Frisbee Shop: www.frisbeeshop.com.au – The Australian Flying Disc Association have their own website: www.afda.com

Mountain Biking

Are you fond of the great outdoors, rugged terrain and fresh air? Looking for thrills while exercising and not keen on staying indoors at the gym? If you enjoyed bicycling already but you left your bike in storage because you are looking for something more edgy, look no further than mountain biking!

The History Of Mountain Biking

Off road bicycling probably existed from the moment the first bicycle was invented. However, the very first official records of off road biking date from the late 19th century when the Swiss Army first started the bicycle regiment. The bicycle regiment was designed to travel through Switzerland’s mountains and forests and was discontinued only a decade ago.

In 1896, the USA’s Buffalo soldiers decided to test their customised bikes in rough terrain by organising a return trip between the state of Montana and Yellowstone. In both cases, the bike was to successfully replace the horse as a fast and quiet mode of transportation in those hard to reach places.

Subsequently in the early twentieth century in Europe, cyclists would race each other in the winter months through the countryside to keep up with their fitness regime in the cold weather and improve their road biking skills. They called it cyclo-cross.

In 1902, Daniel Gousseau started the French national cyclo-cross championships which resulted in the rest of Europe wanting a piece of the action. Many cyclo-cross racers went on to participate in the Tour de France and even Octave Lapize credited his 1910 win of the famous race on his cyclo-cross training.

Throughout the 1950s, clubs like the Velo Cross Club Parisien (VCCP) or the Rough Stuff Fellowship (whose member D. Gwynn invented to term ‘mountain bike’) would experiment with their bikes to improve off road performance.

Around the same time, in the USA in 1953, John Finley Scott who was another off road cyclist built his first ‘woodsie bike’. But the mountain bike as we now know it was actually designed by the British, Geoff Apps, in 1968.

Geoff Apps was inspired by his motorcycle to build a mountain bike which was specifically designed to endure the wet English weather and muddy terrain. And mountain biking as a sport really only took off thanks to companies like MountainBikes in the USA around the 1970s and 1980s who were experimenting and constantly improving the design of the mountain bike.

Benefits Of Mountain Biking

Firstly, this sport is perfect for those adventurous types who love the great outdoors and enjoy keeping a certain level of fitness. This level of fitness all depends on the speed you chose to ride and the intensity of the outdoor terrain you decide to explore.

At low intensity, mountain biking is a great activity for the whole family to enjoy and share great moments with your children discovering and experiencing nature. There is a long list of tremendous mental and physical health benefits to mountain biking.

It is not just a great cardiovascular exercise and intense physical activity, but it will also improve your endurance, balance and core strength as your confidence will grow.

It is great fun and a very social activity as you will ride with other bikers and share your experiences. As you improve those leg and butt muscles, it is a great way to get back into fitness after recovering from injury.

It is also great for strengthening the tendons. As your self-confidence, social skills and relationship with your peers will improve, so will your blood circulation. Plus mountain biking is the perfect fat burner.

Most importantly, being part of the mountain biking world is like being part of a passionate community and will give you a sense of belonging. Lastly, mountain a biking is a great holiday activity. It has very little environmental impact. In that sense, it is advised that you follow the already existing trails and do not ride on fragile ecosystems or environmentally protected areas.

How To Get Started With Mountain Biking

Before getting started with mountain biking, you must first know how to ride a bicycle. Nowadays mountain bikes are easily available, for absolutely all ages, they can be found in most bike shops and even department stores.

In order to avoid injury, you must start at beginner’s level, low speed on easy terrain. As you gain more experience and confidence, you will eventually gradually increase your speed and ride more advanced trails. When you do so it is advised that you wear protection gear: bike helmet, knee and elbow pads.

You must check the performance of your bike before every ride as mountain biking can be very demanding on your bike and maintenance must be done on a regular basis. Remember to pack plenty of water and snacks as well as a first aid kit for yourself and a puncture kit for your bike.

Mountain bikers are self-reliant and you must learn how to fix your bike in case it breaks down in the middle of nowhere. It’s advised to not ride alone when you first venture out. Most importantly, navigation skills are of utmost importance if you decide to ride in unknown new territory.

There are mountain biking associations all over the country and they will welcome any newcomers with open arms. No need to say will provide you with all the information you need to get started and improve your skills as you go. For more information on Mountain Biking Australia: www.mtba.asn.au

Trampolining

From the very first origins of the trampoline to gymnastics, trampolining has grown into a sophisticated sport. Many families now have a trampoline in their backyard or garden, for their children to play safely. Trampolining has never been more available and affordable for all to enjoy.

The History Of Trampolining

The early beginnings of trampolining may be traced back to the Inuits. During the whaling festival, which occurs in USA’s northern part of Alaska in the month of June. After hunting season the Inuits always shared their bounty with the local community as a sign of plenty and success.

As it is customary, they will throw each other up in the air on walrus skins in what is called the blanket tossing ceremony. In the meantime, various acts of blanket toss have been witnessed for different reasons in many parts of Europe.

And in 1887 the safety net, resembling the trampoline, was invented and used by firemen to catch people jumping out from burning buildings. A century ago, trampolines started to show up in circus acts across the globe. Mostly  clowns and acrobats used the trampoline to amuse crowds or as a safety net.

But the trampoline as we now know it was invented in 1936 by American gymnasts George Nissen and Larry Griswold. The Swiss Kurt Beachler and the British Ted Blake introduced trampolining to Europe and from then on it became a huge commercial success worldwide.

In the second world war, the trampoline started being used in exercise training for pilots and astronauts. And in 1964, the first world trampolining competition happened in London and the International Trampoline Federation was born. Eventually, trampolining proudly became part of the Olympic Games in the year 2000.

Benefits Of Trampolining

Trampolining has so many benefits. First of all, it is such a fun way to keep fit and one of the best exercises to share with your children in the comfort of your own home. And for all the ladies out there, jumping on your trampoline is known to be one of the best ways to fight that normally hard to reach cellulite as it increases the length of your legs as well as tone. Need we say more?

Additionally, trampolining is one of the best physical activities that’s a lot easier on the joints than running for example. In that sense, it is one of the best ways for the elderly and injured to keep fit as well as people who are not used to exercising.

A lesser known fact is, due to low impact on the joints, trampolining improves bone density and therefore can help prevent osteoporosis. All the while you lose that extra weight and improving your co-ordination and balance. It is one of most enjoyable cardiovascular exercises there is.

It does not only tone your muscle all over but in no time, you will see many improvements including increased energy, metabolism, and blood and lymphatic circulation. As the oxygen flow through the entire body, it will keep you more alert and improve your mood.

It is not just beneficial for your overall health, but it is also a great way to have fun with the whole family as it is effortless and barely feels like a form of exercise at all. The more your practice, the more you enjoy it. Imagine exercising putting a smile on your face. How does that sound?!

How To Get Started With Trampolining

The best part about trampolining is that you do not need any special clothing or footwear. Any comfortable or stretchy attire will do. So you can basically exercise barefoot in your pyjamas in the comfort of your own home. That’s the best form of exercise.

According to experts, all you need is fifteen minutes on your trampoline on a daily basis to improve oxygenation and strengthen your muscles and joints. Trampolining is twice as effective as running with way less impact on your knees.

There are two different types of trampolining. One is the competition style trampolining where trampolines can be used in combination with gymnastics. It can be used as training for various sports including diving. Trampoline gymnastics, or TRP, also include synchronised trampoline and tumbling.

The other trampolining style is leisure. There are many ways to enjoy leisurely trampolining both at home or at an indoor commercial trampoline park. Safety is essential in order to enjoy trampolining. Beginners must first start with little jumps increasing the height as you gain more confidence and strength.

To avoid injury, it is essential to avoid multiple persons jumping at the same time. This will avoid collisions and potential broken bones. It is best advised to use the trampoline one person at a time. Chose a trampoline which is surrounded by a padded area and a net.

Indoor trampoline parks are the safest option as they provide the safety of padded walls. Plus you can purchase packages for special events including food and beverages. Also, more fitness clubs now have trampolining classes where you can enjoy the sport safely and receive great advice and feedback from your teacher as well as make new friends.

Mini-trampolines, or rebounders are quick and easy to use as they can fit in your bedroom or living room. They are a great source of daily exercises used between house chores or while watching television.

So what’s stopping your from trampolining your way to health and fitness? You can involve your whole family and friends and is set to put a smile on everyone’s face when your host your next barbecue!

For more information on purchasing a trampoline: Trampolines Australia or Vuly. For information on trampoline parks across the country: Skyzone – If you would like to give trampoline gymnastics a go, browse: Gymnastics.org.au

Dance

Dancing has become really popular since shows like ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘Australia’s Got Talent’ came out on television. Dance fitness, originally called aerobic dance, comes in all styles and levels of fitness.

Designed for every age, shape and size, genres range from Zumba to hip-hop or rock and roll. In addition to your normal fitness regime or on its own, there is something for everyone out there.

History Of Dance Fitness

Dancing has been enjoyed since the dawn of time. Evidence that dancing already existed nine thousand years ago was found on prehistoric rock paintings in India. Also art depicting dancing figures have been discovered in tombs and temples dating from ancient Egypt. But, it is not until the last fifty years that aerobics, which inspired dance fitness, were created in the 1960s.

At the time, Dr Kenneth Cooper and Col Pauline Potts both worked for the US Air Force and NASA, training soldiers and astronauts. They invented the term ‘aerobics’ which was a basic exercise regime including swimming, running and cycling.

Cooper then founded the company called Cooper Aerobics and, shortly after, published the book simply called ‘Aerobics’ in 1968. The same book inspired dancer Jacki Sorensen to incorporate her own choreographies and aerobic dance was born.

Types Of Dance Fitness

Since the 1960s, aerobic dance has developed into many styles of dance fitness.  Classes are now becoming increasingly popular and are designed for all music tastes and dance genres. Fitness classes are available for a broad range of music lovers from all ages and fitness levels.

One example is Zumba which includes a mixture of various Latin American dances and a dash hip-hop or disco depending on your teacher who will add their own personal style. Doonya is a Bollywood style dance on steroids while QiDance, or Batuka, involves all the above.

Another example is pole fitness which evolved from pole dancing and is now designed for men and women alike. Rock and roll aerobics is another example amongst many others. These are some of the many dancing styles available at dance fitness classes. The possibilities are endless and there is something for everyone.

Benefits Of Dance Fitness

All dance fitness starts and end with a warm-up session including stretching exercises. Dancing is an amazing cardiovascular exercise, low impact physical activity at any age and is a full body workout. It is very beneficial to your general health and will improve your flexibility.

Learning a new fast paced choreography on your favourite music will also improve coordination all the while giving you a leaner body as you burn calories. At the same time, dancing is excellent for your posture.

Sweating to the music will increase your metabolism and tone your muscles all over, and not just your lower body but your upper body as well. Dancing involves your arms, legs, bum, core and back muscles. And classes can sometimes provide dumbbells for extra weight on your arms.

You will mingle with people from all backgrounds as you let go of your worries. Learning new moves and making new friends will certainly boost your self-esteem. Not to mention you will become popular at the next party and meet other like-minded people on the dance floor. As you dance to the music, you have a lot of fun and therefore it is the perfect stress relief.

How To Get Started With Dance Fitness

Music is most important when it comes to dance fitness. Do some research on the internet to find a dance that suits your needs, style and most importantly your taste in music.

Don’t be afraid to try different classes to find one you really like. Nowadays, many fitness clubs also host dance fitness classes. Wear comfortable stretchy clothes and appropriate shoes for your style of dance. It is not advised to use your regular running or fitness shoes. They will put too much pressure on your joints and twist your knees.

There are shoes specifically designed for Zumba or aerobics. Do your homework first before you show up for class. All the information you need should be on the website itself, if not then call the venue to find out.

If you do not like to go alone, bring a friend for added fun. Dancing is sexy as you will learn new techniques on how to move your body to the beats. Be ready to sweat, get your sexy on, dance to your favourite music and have an awesome time!

Hula Hooping

These days there are so many creative ways to combine fun and exercise with an array of physical activities to enjoy. And hula hooping, also known simply as hooping, is one of them. If you are looking for new ways to keep fit, and if like many people you get easily bored at the gym, it is time to try something a little bit different. So hooping could be the answer.

Who has not rocked a hula hoop, even as a child, and remembered thinking: ‘This is so much fun. I am really enjoying this!‘ But back then classes were totally unheard of, especially for adults. However, times have changed as people are always on the lookout for better ways to get fit.

The History Of Hula Hooping

The modern hoop as we know it, made out of plastic tube, was invented in California in the late 1950s. It was directly inspired by the bamboo hoops used in Australia at the time. However, it is known children and adults have been hooping with dried grapevines since as far as ancient Egypt or ancient Greece.

Hooping was also very popular in Great Britain during the fourteenth century as hoops were used for both leisure and religious ceremonies. Five hundred years later, British sailors returning home from Hawaii, invented the exact term ‘hula hooping’ as it reminded them of hula dancing.

In Native American Indian culture, hoops represent the cycle of life. In storytelling, up to thirty small hoops at a time can be used to perform animal dances.

Lately, hooping has never been more popular as it has been featured many times in the world famous Cirque de Soleil circus acts, as well as various festivals and fairs while classes for all ages are emerging all over the world.

Benefits of Hula Hooping

There is no denying that hooping is great fun and the benefits are endless. It is a good way of letting go of stress and connect with your happy place. Being an amazing core and cardio exercise, on a daily basis, you can gain those killer abs and slim waist you have always dreamed of.

Additionally, it targets the muscles on your bum, legs and arms as the hoop travels up and down your body in a circular motion. It’s also known for realigning the spine, hooping improves flexibility, coordination and balance.

To sum things up, hooping is the equivalent of running on a treadmill except it will not stress your joints. It is an awesome body workout, it burns calories. It is great for the mind and good for the heart, and it strengthens your spine. What more can you ask for?

As you will learn to use the hoop on both left and right side, and different directions, you will improve your body balance and your self-confidence. Plus you will be proud of yourself for learning new tricks which may seem hard at first but are easily achievable with regular practice.

How To Start Hula Hooping

Firstly, wear comfortable snug fitting clothes. Some people like to use their bare skin, especially around the arms and legs to get a better grip on the hoop. Then all you need is the right size hoop so you can practice in the comfort of your own home, in your backyard or at the park.  Impress your friends and children by showing off your skills!

There is always the option to order a hoop online and have it custom made. The bigger and heavier are much easier to use than the small ones you can find in toy shops. There are several colours, weights and sizes depending on the use and needs. The large ones are used around the waist and the slightly smaller lighter ones are easier to handle for learning tricks with the hands and arms.

There are some awesome online tutorials and hula hooping DVDs out there.  However, to find out the right size hoop for you it is better to join a hula hooping community. Find out about private workshops and lessons in your area.

Your local gym may even host classes as hooping is becoming more popular. Ask around and do some research on the internet, you would be surprised at the amount of information you will find.

Some circus schools also offer hooping classes. People showing up at these classes are all from different backgrounds and ages. Most importantly, hoops will be provided.

But, beware as hooping can become a healthy addiction. It really is a great workout although it does not feel like exercising. As well as making you fit, it lifts up your spirit. And most importantly, it is a lot of fun! For more information about the various types of hoops or to buy a hula hoop, checkout the team from Pretty Sticky Circus.

Rollerblading

Rollerblading, or in-line skating, has long been the perfect alternative to ice skating in the summer months. As it became more popular over the years, it became a fun and healthy way towards muscle building and weight loss.

It is great to practice on its own or combined with your exercise routine for optimum health.

The History of Rollerblading

It is unclear who created the first in-line skates. All we know is that they were originally made during the eighteenth century in Northern Europe as an alternative to ice skating in the summer months.

They were mostly made out of wooden wheels on a wool strap attached to regular shoes. In-line skates were also used on stage in various performances around Europe. First written records show that they were officially invented by the Belgian musician John Joseph Merlin in 1760.

It is said that Merlin played the violin on a pair of skates at parties, including at the notorious Carlisle House in Soho Square. The skates were then first officially patented in France in 1819. The base was mostly  wood and leather straps on three in-line wheels made out of metal, wood or ivory.

In 1863, the American James Plimpton created the ‘rocking’ skate which resembles the roller skate. Although quite popular, when skating rinks started to spread across the UK and US, skates were still quite uncomfortable and relatively unsafe until a hundred years later.

That’s when in 1979 two American ice hockey players, the Olsen brothers, stumbled upon an old pair. Needing practice in the summertime, after the ice had melted, the Olsons improved the old model and finally added the heel break.

The company later called Rollerblade was born, therefore vastly improving the skates over the years and making them easily available to everyone as rollerblading, like it is now mostly called, became hugely popular.

The Benefits Of Rollerblading

Rollerblades are so much more comfortable than when they were first designed three hundred years ago. They can be used at any age for recreation purposes, as well as sports like hockey, or purely as a mode of transport.

Rollerblading can burn as many calories as running or cycling while being easier on your joints. And remember the faster you skate, the more calories you burn!

Plus it is a lot more fun than just simply going to the gym and it allows you to enjoy more of the great outdoors. In that sense, it is an amazing mood enhancer; it will improve your breathing and your posture as well as tone your lower body.

Rollerblading can be a great addition to your existing exercise regime. Or, if practised on its own, rollerblading three times a week will help you lose weight and maintain a good body shape, especially in combination with a healthy diet.

It is an amazing leg and butt workout to get those chiselled legs and buttocks. Additionally, you will work out your core muscles while you improve your balance. As you gain more confidence and skills, you can add light weights to your arms as well for a whole body workout.

How To Get Started With Rollerblading

Most importantly, to get you started, you will need to find the correct size of rollerblades. They must be a perfect fit and should feel comfortable, without being loose, while providing great support for your ankles.

It is also important to invest in a properly-fitted helmet and protective gear which include: knee pads, elbow pads and wrist-guards. It not only essential to keep you safe from injury but will also give you the confidence you need to improve your technique and speed.

Ask the salesman at your nearest general sports store and they will be more than happy to provide you with the help you need in finding the best gear for you.

It is advised not to eat a heavy meal before rollerblading and wear comfortable or stretchy clothes. It can seem difficult at first but hang in there, take one step at a time and start with light speed and short distances. Learn to roller blade with a friend or join a rollerblading club in your area to share the experience and receive constructive feedback.

Rollerblading is one of the best and most enjoyable ways to burn calories. Now you are ready to start! Believe in yourself and give yourself set goals. And remember, it gets easier and easier with practice. It will give you a great confidence boost…and did I mention it is a lot of fun?

For more information on all things rollerblading, lessons, stores and techniques checkout Rollerblading.com.au

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the many physical activities we’ve listed above and hopefully you’ve even been inspired to try something new this weekend?

Whether you’re a regular gym-goer or love HIIT workouts or Yoga and Pilates, mixing things up with new activities will help keep your mind fresh and your body challenged with different muscles being engaged with each of the new exercises you engage in.

Most of all, have fun with them! Exercise doesn’t need to be serious and structured, so by adding in new activities you’ll feel better, happier and more motivated. Enjoy!