Good riddance 2020, hello 2021!
As we say a grateful goodbye to what we can probably all agree has been the worst year in a long time, we’re starting a brand-new year filled with hope and possibility. 2021 brings fresh starts and fresh opportunities for all, making this a perfect time to try something new!
Here are three suggestions for activities to unlock your potential in 2021.
This has become a real craze in recent years, and if you’ve ever given it a go you probably understand why. Getting out on the water is great for your mental wellbeing, promoting a sense of relaxation and calm. It can be done on almost any kind of water, so you don’t have to live close to the ocean to get involved.
Pros: Paddle boarding is a workout for your whole body, but is particularly good for your core strength, arms and abs. It’s a low-impact workout, so won’t put strain on your joints. As if that wasn’t enough, it even improves your cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Cons: Paddle boards are pretty big – usually around 10 feet long – so they can be pretty hard to store and transport. Inflatable paddle boards solve that problem, but they can bounce on rough water and take more energy to push. Plus, you have to pump them up. Reminder to wear plenty of sunscreen and drink lots of water while you’re out on the board to avoid sunburn or dehydration.
Alternative: Don’t fancy standing up on the water? Kayaking has many of the same benefits, and you get to sit down while you’re doing it! Win-win!
Dance is a great way to exercise without even realising you’re doing a workout – you’ll be having too much fun. There are so many different types of dance class designed to give you a workout, so whether you prefer something upbeat like Zumba or salsa that will increase your aerobic fitness and work your muscles, or something more controlled like ballet that builds your core strength and tones your whole body, you’ll find something to suit you.
Pros: Dancing is a workout for the whole body, and a great way to meet new people. It improves your coordination, flexibility and balance, and it even gives your brain a workout as learning and remembering the steps is good for your cognitive function.
Cons: Certain types of dance, such as ballet, can be tough on your joints, particularly your knees. Make sure you have the appropriate footwear for the style of dance you’re doing and you’ll be off to a flying start! The repetitive movements can also cause strains, so make sure you warm up before class and cool down properly afterwards.
Alternative: If dance isn’t your thing, trampolining has a very similar impact on your body and is also loads of fun!
Climbing can take a variety of forms, whether you prefer an indoor bouldering wall or a countryside rock face. Bouldering is easily accessible for beginners, and there is plenty of scope for you to expand your activities as your skill increases. Climbing works your whole body and vastly improves your strength.
Pros: Climbing particularly strengthens your hands, forearms, biceps, back and shoulders. Your upper body strength will improve before you know it. You’ll also find your abs, glutes, thighs and calves get a pretty good workout too. There is a great community around the activity, so you’re likely to make new friends when you get involved.
Cons: Not one for anyone with a fear of heights! It also takes a long time to build up the upper body strength required to get really good, so be prepared to be a beginner for a while. Climbing can also be tough on your joints and tendons, and can lead to arthritis in the hands for regular climbers. You also run the risk of falls, bumps and scrapes, and the tougher climbs you do, the more dangerous the activity becomes.
Alternative: If you want to keep a bit closer to the ground, gymnastics, circus or pole classes also improve your strength and helps build your muscles.