This carefully curated list represents some of the best play-filled urban and nature, indoor and outdoor pursuits. At both high and low intensities, these playful workout ideas are suitable for any level of athlete, and great for the kid at heart.
1. Jump Rope
A perfectly sized rope will allow you to hold your arms bent at 90 degrees (elbows at your side), with one foot holding the mid-point in the dangling rope. Don’t worry about a fancy rope, a $5 plastic rope works just great. Pick a few favorite songs (aim for 3 to 5), and vary your step with the beat. Try high knees, one foot, boxer shuffle, side to side twist, crisscross arms, double under foot, or make up your own moves! Take a quick water break between each song, jump rope is a great way to get your sweat on.
2. Ultimate Frisbee
A great activity for ensuring everyone gets involved, especially if you play by the rules that every team member must touch the disk before a goal is made. Gather the troops; you’ll need at least six friends. Frisbee makes for a fun afternoon spent outdoors, and worth combining with after game recovery eats like these Cauliflower Buffalo Wings, or Chocolate Protein Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting
Find out how to play Ultimate Frisbee here.
3. Gym Triathlon
If your local gym doesn’t have a lap pool, pick an alternate upper body centric activity such as jump rope, shadow boxing, or a rowing machine. This will be paired with segments on a stationary bike, and treadmill. You can either split your time equally across each segment (i.e. 30 minutes of each activity), or gradually builds duration with each segment (i.e. 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and 40 minutes).
You can use this as a fitness test at the start and end of a season. See how much farther you can go each season, being consistent with the overall time duration as your gauge.
A technology lover’s dream workout. Geocaching is a modern day treasure hunt, combining orienteering skills, navigation, and your self-propelled transportation of choice (hiking, biking, urban walks, etc....), it all depends on the location of your “geocache.” Finding a geocache means either locating a hidden figurine (through GPS coordinates), or a hidden container with a log book inside to record your “find.”
Sometimes you can leave behind a small object, like a postcard or a pin, in exchange for something someone else has left behind. You can find hundreds of geocache locations in your area or abroad, through the website and app: geocaching.com
5. Local Food Scavenger Hunt
With any size group (but at least two participants), everyone curates a list with a few of your favorite local food items to buy from several great markets around your city. Markets and grocers should all be within a combination of walking, biking, public transit or running distance (if running, items must be small enough to fit in a commuter running backpack). Everyone must agree to the same mode of transport, but the route is up to the recipient of the list.
Exchange lists at a set date and time, and enjoy discovering new foods, and new pathways through the city as you “scavenge” for your friend’s favorite picks. Enjoy a meal once all together again, or post a picture to social media of the meal you made using the ingredients. Consider a custom hashtag for your adventure (such as #LocalFoodHuntYVR). You could request each participant post a photo from each shop to ensure all local grocers were visited, and to look back on at the end of the day to see where everyone got to.
6. Indoor Trainer While Watching Food Documentaries
Load your iPad, or smartphone with some of the top food documentaries you’ve been meaning to catch up on. Picking an interval workout on the bike/indoor trainer ensures you vary your resistance even if you’re engrossed in the film (that’s the plan!). Plan to build up to, or last for the full duration of a movie as an endurance workout that escapes the cold and wet (or heat and humidity, depending on your region).
This is meant to be a lower intensity session, for a longer duration. Pack a sweat towel, Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator in your water bottle to stay hydrated, and a Vega Sport Protein Bar for your recovery reward (instead of a chocolate bar like at the movies!). For a list of top food documentaries to consider, check here.
7. Building (Heavy) Rock Towers or Inuksuks
Stacking rocks may not seem like much, but the repetition using heavy enough rocks will challenge your core and glutes, and strengthen your low back. This is a great activity when out hiking, or if you live near a beach area or riverbed. Stack rocks vertically until they become unbalanced, or create a figure traditionally known by Canadian First Peoples as an Inuksuk.
Focus on lifting with your legs, flat back, and engaging your core. Don’t rely on jerky movements from your low back. This workout is designed to strengthen your core to help with your resiliency to injury, not in creating it!
8. Puddle Jumping
Might seem beyond your years, but this workout sure helps beat the wet wintry blues! Best on dirt roads, gravel trails, or anywhere you know to be especially good for puddles. Incorporate a combination of one foot leaps, two foot jumping, and one puddle at a time or multiple in a row. This can be incorporated with a light recovery jog between puddles for raising your heart rate, and adding in cardio benefits. It’s the most fun when you spontaneously challenge a friend or family member to jump every puddle with you, when you’re already out on a walk or run.