9 Unconventional Workouts You Need to Try

A huge part of wellness is finding forms of exercise that you actually enjoy. We don't have to log 30 minutes on the elliptical while reading SELF magazine. By all means, if that is enjoyable for you, do it. The problem is that too many of us have negative attitudes towards exercise because we either don't understand the actual benefits or we don't enjoy what we have tried. If you are in that second camp, I have a few unconventional workouts that are worth a shot

  1. DOGA

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Doga is yoga for you and your dog, so if you have separation anxiety when leaving for a run without your pooch, this one might be your holy grail. There's no body shaming here, but I'm sure some poses might be more challenging depending on the size of your dog. It hasn't become super popular yet, but search in your area or become an instructor and make it happen.

2. Twerking

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Outside of night clubs and those booty shakes we all do to put on skinny jeans, twerking is also used in a straight-up workout format. Lex Panterra is a youtube twerk master who offers both tutorials and awesome music. Otherwise, some fitness studios and gyms are offering twerk classes, so definitely do a Google search for your area if you've got the rhythm in your bones. If you're not ready to dive in all the way, check out my article which starts a little slower.

3. Backwards running

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Backwards running began as a drill to engage accessory muscles for avid runners. Now, there are races for just backwards running. Besides the obvious dangers of the sport, backwards running improves muscular balance, posture, and helps to prevent injury by reducing the pounding motion. You also don't need a fancy fitness boutique to do it. Grab a friend and try a run in reverse. I would recommend sticking to sidewalks and tracks.

4. Pogo

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Not only is pogoing an extreme sport, it can also be a regular workout. The movement itself is a plyometric cardio exercise focused on the lower body and core. The high intensity bouncing will get your heart beating like none other especially if you can't resist feeling like a kid again. You can find a pogo stick of your own at many sporting goods stores and even on Amazon.

5. Extreme Obstacle Courses

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Races like Spartan races and mud runs have been growing in popularity as they encourage camaraderie. Adding obstacles and different movements makes these races more mentally challenging and rewarding in the end. They are known to be dangerous causing higher rates of injuries among athletes than traditional endurance races, but if you take caution, they might be worth a shot!

6. Cycle Karaoke

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Work your diaphragm, core, and lower body at the same time while jamming out to the top hits. As a cycle instructor myself, this one is on my list of classes to try. It's currently being offered at Crunch Fitness gyms across the country pairing singing with indoor cycling. Try it out and let me know if it tops the dance party that is SoulCycle.

7. Aerial Yoga

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With this one, you let gravity do the work. An alternative form of yoga focusing on decompression of the spine, aerial yoga will have you hanging from fabrics like a real acrobat. It has caught on pretty widely and classes can be found in most major cities.

8. Trampoline Fitness

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Trampoline warehouses are opening up all over the country as both entertainment center primarily for childrens' birthday parties as well as fitness centers. I'm not talking about mini 1970s-workout-esque trampoline, but the gigantic rooms of trampolines that even gymnasts only dream about. Although again it can be very dangerous, many trampoline centers offer workout classes that guide you through proper jumping technique while letting you fly through the air.

9. Pound

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Pound is like many other aerobic fitness classes with a unique twist. Throughout every exercise, the beat of the music is incorporated with the pounding of your own drum sticks. If you love the pounding music of a fitness class, this class is definitely for you. Search their website to find a class near you.

Fitness is all about finding what type of exercise works for you - what you like, what makes you feel strong, what challenges you. If you haven't found something you like, give a few new exercises a chance. Try new classes, mix up your routine, and findĀ your form of movement. It doesn't have to mean a gym membership or jogging 3 times a week. It's about finding a balance that you enjoy that works for you. If you need someone to bounce ideas off of, I'm always here.

MovingErin Thomas