If you are prone to regular bouts of insomnia and living in the first world, then you’re likely familiar with late night TVs profound obsession with bizarre fitness routines and products. Whether it’s sauna suits, the Shake Weight, or Prancercise, there is some seriously weird stuff out there. And while most fitness gimmicks serve as little more than Buzzfeed filler, occasionally one slips through that actually makes a shred of sense.
Now, that’s not to say we recommend investing in a Shake Weight anytime soon, unless of course you live alone and have really thick curtains. But if you’ve gotten a bit bored with the basics, it might be time to step outside of your fitness comfort zone and try something new. Here are some off-the-beaten path workouts that might actually help you get fit.
If you’re worried that too much running will wreak havoc on your knees, turns out there is an easy, if slightly odd-looking, solution. Run backwards. According to a 2011 study, running backwards not only creates less impact on your knees, it also uses 30 percent more energy, which means you’ll get more bang for your buck workout-wise. It’ll also make you feel like you’re going back in time, which is a huge bonus. Of course, since you can’t actually see where you are going, maybe restrict this one to a fairly empty track.
Have you ever looked at a bat hanging upside down and thought, yeah, that seems about right? Well good news, friend, turns out there’s a workout for you. It’s called inversion, and it’s basically just normal core exercises, only you do them upside down. For years, yoga experts have sworn by the benefits of inversion exercises. To ease into it, first do some basic core exercises on an inversion bench at your local gym. Then, if you like it, move on to hooking your feet into a bar for a full 180-degree flip.
One of the main benefits of an inversion workout is that it relieves stress on your joints and your spine, which can actually help to increase your range of motion. It also ups the intensity of your core workouts since you’re both pulling more body weight and working against gravity. But be super careful if you try this one, and maybe even consult a doctor first, especially if you have any injuries or blood pressure issues.
You know who’s fit? Animals. And you know who likes weird things? Australians. So it makes a sense, then, that Australians invented a workout called Zuu, a fitness routine based on the movements of wild animals. Zuu uses a combination of cardio, strength training, and agility exercises that are all based around primal movements and animal instincts; crawling around on the floor like a bear, swinging your arms like a gorilla, and a whole bunch of other weird and exhausting stuff that you probably did while playing “zoo” as a kid. If you’re up for unleashing your inner animal, you can at least find some Zuu workouts to try online.
Since sitting all day at your desk will kill you, or at least so says recent studies, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try some decent desk exercises that can help add a bit of fitness to your otherwise sedentary day. With only your chair you can do isometric shrugs for your shoulders, isometric triceps pushdowns for your arms, and isometric neck extensions for your neck and back. At the very least it’ll break up the monotony of work and help get the blood flowing. Oh but, make sure to bring deodorant.
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