The alternative sports to try out this year

19th January 2018

Jogging on the treadmill is fine, but this year it’s time to go hard when it comes to your fitness.

When it comes to sport – it’s your rules, your style. You play how you want, not how you’re told. Whenever, wherever, however, whatever – you don’t need to be a member of a club or book in advance. Pitch, pool, gym, track, street, beach, mountain, the backyard, the top of a building – sport happens where you say it does.

Ready? We’ve put together a round up of the hottest alternative sports to try out in 2018.

Freestyle football

This year, freestyle football is a fitness trend you need to give a go. It’s cheap to do – more cash for the weekend – and doubles up as an impressive party trick when you’ve mastered it.

Where to try freestyle football:

Your back garden is a good place to start.

Take half an hour regularly to try out some basic tricks – just y’know, try to avoid any windows or neighbour’s gardens.

What you need to try out freestyle football:

  • A decent football and some spare time – Check out some YouTube videos on how the pros perform tricks and give them a go. Get your mates round and make a competition out of it.

What fitness benefits does freestyle football offer?

  • Cardio – You might not think it but focusing on one trick and moving that ball around is great for getting your heart rate up.
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@ryan_taylor x @iamandrewhenderson mix BMX and freestyle footie.

BMX

The BMX bike has made a big comeback. It’s no longer the ride of choice for kids or an 80s throwback but definitely something you can take up – whether you want to get fit or just fancy a new way of cruising into work.  

Where to ride a BMX bike:

Start off taking it out around your local area, and then, when you’re feeling brave, head down to the nearest skatepark to give the ramps a go.

What you need to take up BMX:

  • BMX Bike – A decent BMX bike is obvs a good starting point. Tune up the one you used to ride as a teenager or check out stores like Argos and Amazon for a decent priced one.
  • Sportswear – Going hard on a BMX is a good workout. Running trousers or gym leggings mean nothing can get caught on the bike, while a hoodie thrown on top looks good and will keep you warm all year round.
  • Helmet – Safety first, guys.
  • Knee and elbow pads – When you try out the ramps you’ll definitely want these.

What are the benefits of BMX riding?

  • Cardio – BMX riding is great for building up fitness, so you can go for longer.
  • Legs and glutes – You’ll be standing and pedalling a lot, which means you’ll be working your legs and glutes to keep going.
  • Abs – That standing and pedalling requires good balance, so your abs will get a workout too. Hello, easy summer body.
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@hittheroad.co makes it happen.

Freerunning

Basically another term for parkour – freerunning involves hurling yourself over, under and on everyday objects – getting from A to B in the most creative way possible. You’ll need to work on your upper body strength and agility but once you’ve plotted a route and mastered it you’ll be showing your moves off to everyone.

Where to try freerunning:

Your local park or your back garden are good places to give it a go. Find or set up some obstacles and get round and over them as creatively as possible. Head to YouTube for inspiration on basic parkour style moves to learn.

You won’t be backflipping off benches or jumping between rooftops immediately but instead vaulting over things and probably getting a few bruises along the way – but that’s part of the fun.

There are groups up and down the country that can get you into the sport too. Check one of these out.

What you need to try out freerunning:

  • Fitted gym clothes – Freerunning is all about smooth, slick movements, so you don’t want to get caught up in your gear. Fitted trousers and tops are best – look for clothing with cooling tech to keep you going for longer.
  • Running trainers – Grab a decent pair of running trainers with shock absorption. Your ankles will thank you.
  • Fitness trackerCompare your freerunning session to your usual gym routine, you’ll definitely notice you go harder.
  • Sports bra Ladies, you’ll definitely want one of these.

What fitness benefits does freerunning offer?

  • Cardio – Freerunning is like a really good HIIT session as you run, jump, dive, swing around and roll to get to the next point.
  • Upper body – You’ll be grabbing on to things, pushing and pulling yourself over and under obstacles and all this will build up your upper body strength.
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@_tbeau hangs out.

Wave boarding

Waveboards are a new way of skateboarding – offering better turning and a smoother ride. It doesn’t feel like riding a skateboard though – instead it’s more like snowboarding or surfing. You’ll need great balance and confidence but after a few tries you should be cruising.

Where to try wave boarding

A people free area with a smooth bit of pavement is a good place to start.

Your garden patio or a stretch of path at your local park are great choices to build up confidence. Learn how to balance, move forward and stop before straying too far. Easy.

What you need to try out wave boarding

  • A caster board – These are easy to find now and are basically a two-part board with a strong support in the middle. Check out Argos or Amazon and buy a larger size.
  • Helmet – You’ll probably fall off once…twice… just be prepared to fall off.
  • Gym clothes – Stay comfy and look good with your usual, fitted workout gear when trying out wave boarding.
  • Knee and elbow pads – Just to be safe.

What fitness benefits does wave boarding offer?

  • Abs – You’ll be doing all the balancing while riding the board, which means your abs will definitely get a workout. Six pack, here we come.
  • Legs and glutes – Standing for long periods and moving yourself forward will help tone up your legs and glutes.

Ready to skip the classes at your local gym? It’s time to try something new – give one of these sports a go, pick up some new gym clothes and find a new way to spend the weekend.