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Unusual fitness classes for the new year


Underwater hockey players in the pool

Image caption

Underwater hockey is played along the bottom of a pool

“I think I’m going to skip the gym today,” is something often heard around this time of year.

Dedicating yourself to a gruelling workout regime in January can be tough even to the most determined gym-goer.

But distracting yourself from the fact you’re exercising is one method of burning the Christmas calories.

Here are a selection of weird and wonderful ways to get fit in the New Year.

Grounded Aerial

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Media captionGrounded aerial is a sports class where participants hang from bungee cables as they exercise

“It releases the inner child.”

That’s how Grounded Aerial instructor Angharad James describes the class in Carmarthenshire, where attendees hang from bungee cables as they jump around the room.

While attached to the ceiling, exercisers perform a series of high-energy moves.

Ms James explained that the workout, which comes from Philadelphia, incorporates resistance training and dance, and has changed people’s entire body shapes.

During the class, they do push-ups in a handstand, to which Ms James said: “Well, I mean who can do that?”

Underwater Hockey

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Media captionSwimmers take part in underwater hockey for a change from swimming laps

It was the sport which rose to prominence in the 1950s to keep divers fit.

But underwater hockey is a sport still played competitively today, attracting members from all over Wales.

“I think a lot of people who are fed up of swimming laps enjoy a bit of different team sport – and it’s a really good team sport,” explained Newport Underwater Hockey’s Jenny Murphy.

Players wear their snorkels alongside a water polo hat to protect their ears, and flippers to help pick up speed.

Instead of using the traditional hockey ball, a heavy lead puck is flicked along the bottom of the pool, using a smaller stick.

Swimmers compete along the pool floor, coming up for air, but never lifting their heads out of the pool – instead blowing water from their snorkels and taking a deep breath.

Aerial Silks

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Media captionAerial silks is a class taught at Up Side Down Circus in Cardiff

“With aerial, you train towards performing something pretty and awesome.”

Bunmi Odumosu has been doing aerial sports for five years, and says she is stronger now then when she used to go to the gym.

The silks class sees participants hang in mid-air from a length of material as they learn new moves.

She adds: “You get to do fun stuff – you feel like a kid again.”

Aerial silks instructor Tammi Brown is one of the founders at Up Side Down Circus in Cardiff and teaches “anything else that needs to go up”.

The former juggler explained that the sport involves the whole body, and said the circus classes are a fun environment.

“I think with circus in general it’s more fun and it’s a non-competitive environment which I think is really important,” she said.

JumpFit

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Media captionJumpFit UK sees exercisers wearing springed boots as they work out

“For people that say they don’t like exercise, they haven’t tried JumpFit.”

Abbey Skinner, owner of JumpFit UK, explained that the springed boots are both a great way to work out and help improve participants’ mental health.

Ms Skinner, who is based in Bristol but is expanding across the south west, said she initially spotted a friend wearing the boots before she decided to start her business.

She recalled: “I saw a friend of mine in the boots, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the boots.”

Ms Skinner added that the boots take 80% of shock out of the joints when exercising.



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