People associate exercise with hard work. You sweat, you grunt and you push your body to its limits. As the old saying goes: no pain, no gain. But exercise doesn’t have to be gruelling and painful. Exercise can be fun.
There’s a lot of ways to have fun and get healthy at the same time. Some of them are time honored traditions like bike riding, swimming and hiking. For the adventurous, there are a growing number of new and unique ways to get some sun and shape your buns.
If you’ve never heard of these, think of them as exoskeletons for your legs, that give you the power to jump higher, rebound off of hard surfaces and pull an ever expanding number of impressive tricks.
Think Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympic champion they called “blade runner,” with his prosthetic running legs. Jumping stilts closely resemble the “blades” that Pistorius wore, but they are designed as enhancements rather than replacements. You bind your feet to a pair of plates like those on an exercise bike and you rely on fiberglass leaf springs and bouncy rubber hoofs to propel yourself forward and off the ground with amazing speed.
They give you superhuman abilities. Amateur jumpers can leap 5 feet off the ground and run as fast as 20 miles per hour. The world record jump is close to ten feet. You can get outrageous air time with a good pair of jumping stilts. While you’re up there, there’s just no limit to the amount of cool tricks you can learn and perform.
Pro jumpers compete in events like the Nancy Power Days and the Riser Winter Cup in France. Jumping stilt experts come from around the world to show off their arsenal of tricks and compete to reach new record heights.
You don’t have to be a pro to get the exercise benefits and the excitement from jumping stilts. Anyone can buy a pair of stilts to run faster and jump higher than you’ve ever imagined. It is considered an extreme sport but it can be safe if you start modestly, follow safety recommendations and take your time. Nobody is going to vault over a ten foot bar on their first go, but in time, you can do some pretty spectacular stuff.
Not everyone is cut out for extreme sports like half-pipe skateboarding, snowboarding and jumping stilts. That doesn’t mean your outdoor exercise routine has to be boring and predictable.
Bike riding is another great way to get out in the sun, get your heart-rate up, tone up and stay healthy. Studies have shown that people who listen to music while they exercise perform better. When you toss on a pair of headphones and go bike riding to your favorite songs you can delay fatigue and burn more calories.
With your music jamming and the sun shining over you, you can explore scenic bike trails and picturesque cityscapes. It’s easy to get your head nodding to tunes while you are dazzled by the sights and sounds around you. You might even forget that you’re exercising, but you are toning up your muscles and burning calories every time you spin those peddles around.
Exercise does not have to be boring. Exercise does not have be tedious. When you stop viewing it as a chore and start seeing it as a fun way to spend a summer day, you can get all of the health benefits and none of the hassles. You don’t have to be in pain to gain. You can jump on your bike or strap into a pair of jumping stilts and exercise because you want to, not because you have to.