So, Spring is finally here after one or two false starts. And as we look forward to a new season of biking or surfing maybe you should think of trying something new? Who knows – it might be the start of yet another great adventure! So, grab your dirtbag and changing towel and let’s try one of these adrenaline-fuelled new sports.
We’ve all seen the Winter Olympics and watched the snowboarders quite frankly looking like they were having a whale of a time. We quickly learned the difference between halfpipe and freestyle and didn’t they make it look easy?
Well if you fancy having a go yourself you don’t even need to go abroad these days. The UK has always had a few dry ski slopes and if you’d rather try your tricks on the real stuff you can go to one of the indoor ski slopes where you can rent all the equipment (and get a few lessons on technique!)
Ever played one of those first-person computer games where you run down endless tunnels, jumping over obstacles and performing mind-boggling feats of acrobatics? Well, Parkour is the real world workout that is probably closest to that sort of game.
The whole point of Parkour is that you can do it anywhere. All you need is a few gymnastic skills, a park with some obstacles in it, and a pair of soft-shoes. Parkour is great for building strength and spatial awareness as you run, jump and twist your way across the landscape.
If you are happiest with wheels under you then try swapping two wheels for eight and trying roller skating. Roller skating is becoming fashionable once more and there are new rinks popping up across the country.
As long as you don’t mind falling over a few times (wear pads and a helmet to prevent injury) it’s easy to get into. Whilst a lot of people claim, slightly counter-intuitively, that blades are easier than quads an equal number prefer the retro vibe (and many rinks won’t accept blades). And just like it’s easier to balance a moving bike it’s easier to balance on moving skates – so what’s stopping you having a go?
If you live near a velodrome then why not have a go at track cycling? They offer regular taster days where you get an introduction to the technique and a chance to try out your skills on a bike with no brakes.
If you’ve watched track cycling on the telly it might not seem difficult but you need your nerves, stamina speed and technique as much as you do going downhill. Olympic standard indoor velodromes are exceptionally steep compared to some of the outdoor tracks such as Herne Hill, but offer consistent surfaces and possibly the chance to bump into one of the UK’s cycling legends!
For something completely different try archery. Yes, we said adrenaline fuelled, and whilst you might not move much, you can still get that feeling the good rush from knowing you’ve hit the centre.
A good shot is all about focussing on consistency and strength. Archery improves your muscle control and concentration as you direct your attention to that tiny spot of gold in the middle of the target. Even a small deviation can mean the difference between a score and be searching the field for your arrow.
There are many variants of archery, ranging from the well-known target archery to field archery where you follow a course and find targets (sometimes shaped like animals). In some respects, it’s rather like golf with arrows!