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15 Fitness Trends From Around the World
Here are 15 unique fitness activities that you should try.
Great Britain 1 of 16
Similar to its more traditional counterpart, unicycles come in all shapes and sizes. In addition to touring unicycles, there are mountain, trials, freestyle unicycles, and even an ultimate wheel that's seatless. Not only does this sport require more balance than a traditional two-wheeled bike, but riders must pedal continuously while moving.
France 2 of 16
Born out of military obstacle course training, this non-competitive activity is a combination of running and gymnastics. The goal is to propel yourself forward in an urban environment using techniques such as jumping and climbing to navigate obstacles. Mind and body coordination are important for fast, efficient movement.
Ghana 3 of 16
Latin dancers may know how to shake their hips but African dancers use their whole body to get in the rhythm. Named for its inventor, Kukuwa Nuamah, Kukuwa Dance Workout is a full-body activity that can burn up to 1,000 calories in a single class. Set to classic, high-energy African music, you can't help but move your body to the beat.
Catalonia 4 of 16
Image from Sonia Lozano of the Castellers de Vilafranca
A Catalan tradition dating back more than 200 years, castell, or human tower, is exactly how it sounds, but bigger. Not your standard pyramid, these complex human structures can get up to 10 levels high and require up to 500 people to construct. As their motto suggests, this sport requires huge amounts of "strength, balance, courage and common sense."
Japan 5 of 16
A modern day martial art, Aikido was created by Morihei Ueshiba in the early twentieth century. The objective is to take on the movement of your attacker and redirect it, instead of trying to oppose or fight it. As with many forms of martial arts, Aikido requires both mental and physical mastery, including whole-body movement and balance.
Spain 6 of 16
Image Courtesy of Bossaballsports.com
Bossaball is a combination of volleyball, gymnastics and soccer. Two teams compete on an inflatable court with trampolines on each side. Players try to score points by hitting the ball over the net and into the opposing team's court. You can return the ball using your lower arms as in volleyball, or score more points using your feet. Filip Eyckmans created Bossaball in Spain in 2004, but the exciting sport continues to spread worldwide.
Live Action Role Playing
Worldwide 7 of 16
Image Courtesy of Circle Circle dot dot
Live Action Role Playing (LARP) consists of players acting out physical, action-packed story lines from books, movies and video games. Brush up on your medieval accent and your acting skills, but don't forget your cardio as you may find yourself slaying dangerous creatures or dodging an evil nemesis. Although people play all over the world, LARP is most common in the United States and Canada.
India 8 of 16
Kabaddi is a team sport that combines wrestling and rugby. One player, called the raider, runs to the opposing team's side. The raider repeatedly chants "kabaddi, kabaddi," and attempts to touch or tackle as many of the opposing team's players as he can, and make it back to his side, all in the same breath. The opposing team tries to stop the raider from returning to his side.
United States 9 of 16
Roller derby is an intense contact sport, generally played between women, that requires strength, speed and agility. Each team has five players on the track at a time. Four players are blockers, and one player is the jammer. The jammer tries to skate as fast as she can around the track to lap the other team's blockers. Each time she passes an opponent she is awarded a point. Roller derby has a large fan base, and the sport continues to spread worldwide.
Brazil 10 of 16
Capoeira originated in the sixteenth century when African slaves in Brazil created a way to conceal martial arts using music and dance. Capoeira experts can execute acrobatic moves such as high-flying kicks and flips. Because the moves require coordination, strength and flexibility, the fighting style has caught on as a fun and effective fitness activity.
New Zealand 11 of 16
Ready for a ride? Roll downhill inside a giant transparent orb, similar to a hamster ball, except built for humans. Zorbing originated in New Zealand in 1994, when Dwane van der Sluis and Andrew Akers introduced this human-sized sphere to the adventure sports world. Similar concepts were introduced as early as 1970 in Russia. Zorbing is a thrill-seeker sport, and adrenaline junkies can strap in and go down hills, ride ramps, or roll on water.
United States 12 of 16
Yoga has been around for ages, but aerial yoga is fairly new. Michelle Dortignac took her practice to New York City in 1991. After studying dance and yoga, she learned to incorporate tissues and silks. She took her dance moves into the air in 2002 and the hybrid of aerial yoga began. Aerial yoga strengthens the core muscles, increases flexibility, and prevents back strain...to name a few of its benefits.
France 13 of 16
Trapeze may remind you of the circus act—people swing, fly, and dance through the air. But this sport is much more than an act; it's dynamic movement that requires precise timing, strength and flexibility. Jules Leotard developed the art of trapeze in the mid-nineteenth century in France. To perform tricks people must develop a strong core and upper-body strength to swing, swivel, and fly. The tougher the trick the more muscle and strength is required to complete the task.
Middle East 14 of 16
The origin of belly dancing is actively debated among dance enthusiasts. But, the dance form of belly dance comes from the Middle East. Also known as Rak Baladi, it's a social dance form that is performed among all ages and genders at social gatherings.
The basic technique requires making a circular motion with one isolated area of the body while moving in tune with a musical rhythm. One must engage the core to isolate each muscle group and control it to perform such movements.
Worldwide 15 of 16
Photo Courtesy of i5ive Technologies and SkipTraq
The history of skipping rope dates back to ancient China. However, the western version originated around 1600 A.D. in Egypt. Jump rope continued to spread through other countries, making its way to North America. People utilize jump rope as a form of cardio, and now this playground game has turned into a worldwide competition where contestants are judged on speed, tricks, freestyle, and more.