London Activity and Fitness A-Z: 'A'

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Posted by Ross Williams on Wednesday 21st of May 2014

So today it’s all about ‘A’

So as promised this is the first in my series of the London activity and fitness A-Z! It will come as no surprise to you that today we’ll mostly be dealing with the letter ‘a’ then. There’s some obvious ones, some quirky ones, some easy to access and others more time/date specific, but even in this one letters worth, I think there’s a nice spread of ways to make the most of your spare time in the city!

A is for....

There aren’t many permanent fixtures for this in London (I’m not aware of any anyway, but by all means correct me if wrong and I’ll add a note to the next blog post!). However for the beady eyed and keen amongst you, you can find opportunities to abseil down many of London’s iconic buildings through charity challenges. A quick google search for ‘charity challenge abseils London’ will show you the rope(s) on this one.

For anyone who’s been to see Cirque du Soleil and thinks ‘I’d like to fly like an angel’ too! There are loads of different forms this term encompasses, some of the main ones being aerial silks, flying trapeze, the Chinese Pole and the Hoop (and who doesn’t want to tell their colleagues when they leave the office on a work night that they’re just off to create graceful shapes on a spinning metal hoop suspended from the ceiling?! All these are not just exciting and will appeal to the artistic sportsperson too, but are of course fantastic for fitness, strength and stamina. Two schools in London offering such classes are Aircraft Circus and Flying Fantastic.

Adventure Racing
Playing a huge role in the massive resurgence in people training, running and getting fitter, adventure races seem to be everywhere now. Aimed at all levels of fitness they’re a great way to motivate yourself to get out training a bit more, and as a race they’re a lot more fun and less intimidating than a straightforward running race used to be. Often involving other disciplines like cycling and kayaking too and sometimes navigation, they’re also often done in teams, making the whole thing a sociable affair. As I said in my first blog post, if you make it social and fun then there’s a good chance you’ll keep it up, and the ever increasing popularity of these seems to prove that point nicely! A good place to start is Trail Plus who have a race out in Surrey in October, but also see the ‘assault course’ options below too.

If ever a martial art seemed to have all you hard-workers from the city in mind, it’s Aikido!
Not merely a way to learn some kick-ass moves and how to defend yourself, Aikido is all about the unity of mind, body and spirit through training and the effect that can have on your daily life. So if you’re confronted on a dark night in the future you need no longer be a damsel in distress, but a damsel in de-stress as you knock him to the floor! And it’s a damn good workout too. Clubs in London include the surprisingly titled London Aikido Club.

Arm Wrestling
I’m hoping this is one no-one else thought of before seeing it in my list?! Now I must admit I’m no expert on this, and after a quick look around the nearest arm wrestling club to London seems to be in Slough, but don’t let that hold you back. If we get down to grass-roots arm wrestling all we need is two people and a table. I’d suggest a pub as a suitable venue (got to make it social after all), and a friendly challenge to your mates..or even to other patrons and who knows who you may meet!? So you work off the calories as you drink them, and leave the pub at least calorie-evens! Just remember to change hands as much as possible as you don’t want one arm twice the size of the other...

This encompasses a pretty broad spectrum of disciplines really, but it’s not just for those taking it seriously. Whilst if may not be for everyone, you don’t have to be superfit to use an athletics track. If you’re just looking for a training session that’s a bit different, many of the athletics track in London are available to use for the public for a small fee, so get in there and do some interval training round the track, all the while imagining you’re the next Olympic hero.

Assault Course
This one follows on a little from the adventure racing, as there are now a mass of ‘assault course races’, that are quite simply a really fun way of doing a run, and allows us to release the inner child. The beauty of these is that they’re getting loads of people who wouldn’t otherwise have started running or training to do so, and if you’re looking for a bit of a laugh whilst doing a great workout then these are for you. Before you know it you’ll have started actually training for the next one to try and beat your time, or make it all the way along the monkey bars without falling :-) Ones to look out for in London include the London River Rat Race and the Spartan Race Spring in August, and Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest in November.

So that’s it for ‘A’, I hope there’s something in there that could inspire you to give it a go! Otherwise you’ll have to wait for the next one, and who knows what that will ‘B’.....

Until then, have fun!

Founder, 8th Day Adventure


Read my next post:
Be all you can 'B'!

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If you're interested in getting your sweat on in London then keep up to date with this blog for inspiration, activity ideas, motivational tips and more.

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