Keeper of the Plans

10 ways to get fit – and have fun – this year

Getting into yoga is one of many ways you can get fit while having fun in 2017.
Getting into yoga is one of many ways you can get fit while having fun in 2017. Courtesy photo

It’s common to make New Year’s resolutions to get fit.

What’s less common is actually keeping those resolutions past January.

Smart resolutions are specific – say, setting a goal to work out three times a week, or eating less.

Many people make New Year's resolutions every year but very few stick to them. Humans have been making New Year's resolutions for thousands of years. Find out where they originated.

But even the best-intentioned resolutions can fade.

You can help yourself with your fitness goals by spicing them up with a few unique workout ideas – guaranteed to get you fit while having fun.

In addition to joining a gym, here are some fun social experiences in Wichita that – as a bonus – will help you get fit:

▪ Go swing dancing.

Not the type for crowded health clubs? You can get just as fit from dancing, especially when you try high-energy swing dancing. The Wichita Swing Dance Society hosts beginners swing dance lessons from 7:30 to 8 p.m. every Sunday at Care to Dance, 1019 W. Douglas. No experience is necessary. You can try it out for $6, and if you like it, the studio has more advanced swing dance classes earlier on Sunday evenings that you can try. For more information, visit www.wichitaswingdance.com.

▪ Try hula-hoop fitness.

It’s not just for kids. Try a structured dance class centered around hoop fitness – strengthening your abs and core muscles, toning arms and legs, and general cardio. No experience is necessary, and hoops are free to borrow for classes. Classes are from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday at the Flow Foundry, 3135 W. Maple. A drop-in class costs $10, or you can spend $50 for a six-class package. For more information, visit www.flowict.com.

▪ Find your inner zen.

Many underestimate the power of yoga in a fitness plan. Yoga is proven to increase flexibility, breath control and core strength. Plus it has the added benefit of being relaxing. Many Wichita yoga studios offer first-timers a free class, including Satya Moon Yoga on the east side and Hot Asana Yoga Studio on the west side. If you don’t have a mat, most places will let you rent one for the duration of the class. Call ahead to be sure.

▪ Get hardcore with parkour.

Parkour, which came into popularity through web videos in the mid-2000s, is sure to get you sweating and shedding pounds in 2017. Parkour is a workout where you try to move between two points in the most creative way possible – pretty much an obstacle course on steroids. Wichita has a gym exclusively dedicated to parkour – Kinetic Impulse Parkour – and it’s offering a New Year’s special for a free class. Call the gym ahead of time at 316-992-5542 to see whether parkour could be your key to hitting your fitness goals in 2017.

▪ Why not belly dancing?

Kill two birds with one stone by taking some belly-dancing classes in the new year – get fit, and learn some tantalizing new dance moves. In Wichita, Safira’s Center for World Dance and Amira Dance Productions offer classes in belly dancing, as well as other exotic and artistic dance forms. Both charge a drop-in fee of $10-$12 for trying it out. For more information, visit www.amiradanceproductions.com or www.dancewichita.com.

▪ Run with friends.

Running outdoors is one of my favorite ways to stay in shape – why run on a treadmill when you can run in the great outdoors, taking in the sights, sounds and smells along the way? However, when it’s cold out, it’s not always easy to get yourself out to run. Being relatively flat, Wichita seems to be a sort of runner’s city. There are many run groups in town that will let you tag along, and in the process, you might make some new friends. To get information on some of these informal run groups, check out www.runwichita.org/group_runs.php.

▪ Ride your bike.

If you’ve got a bike, Wichita is a pretty good place to ride it. The city has miles of bike paths criss-crossing town and has been in the process of installing bike lanes along major streets in the downtown area since 2015. You can ride your bike for fun or for business – if you need to run to the drugstore to pick up some ibuprofen, why not ride your bike there? Pick up a lock and you’ll be fine. If you want to ride for fun with other cycling lovers, Bike Walk Wichita sponsors free group rides most days of the week. For more information, visit its website at www.bikewalkwichita.org.

▪ Take up geocaching.

What better way to get fit than by going on miniature treasure hunts around town every day? Geocaching is a hobby where people stash little caches – usually with a log book of some kind and sometimes with a little treasure inside – at various locations across town. GPS coordinates get you close to the location of the cache, and it’s up to you to find it. Those caches range from easily found to difficult, some requiring good hikes or even climbing on various objects. It’s free to sign up at www.geocaching.com, and you can start looking for treasures whenever. Just be sure to bring a trinket to leave behind whenever you geocache – you take a treasure, you leave one.

▪ Rock climb.

Rock climbing is a fun and novel way to change up your fitness routine – and Wichita’s Bliss Bouldering and Climbing Complex has enough walls to challenge anyone from a beginner to an expert climber. Bring some friends or come solo – you’re bound to meet interesting people while rock climbing. A day pass to check out Bliss costs $16, and a complete rental package is $9.50. Memberships are available if you decide climbing is your thing. For more information, visit www.climbbliss.com.

▪ Download a fitness app for your phone.

There’s nothing quite like social media when it comes to keeping you accountable. Maintaining your fitness goals becomes more of a priority when you know that hundreds of people are watching your every post, waiting for that moment when you’ll finally crack under pressure. That’s a tad melodramatic, but you get the idea. To make sure you’re being held accountable by friends with similar goals, try downloading a fitness app for your phone, such as MyFitnessPal or MapMyRun, and get your friends to download it as well. They’re social apps that let you see what the other has done fitness-wise for the day (exercise, logging foods eaten, etc.), and they’re surprisingly fun if everyone buys in. The best part: Most are free.

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