Surfboard yoga and pole fitness for men? Before you judge it, give it a try says fitness expert Vesna P. Jacob.
What you have to love about the world of fitness is how quickly it innovates and evolves. There is something new to look forward to every few months. We are catching up with innovations in the West faster than ever, so here’s my wish-list of what I would like to see here in India that’ll let you “get more for less, get bigger, get better, and get slimmer” in a fun, innovative way.
Some of the best workouts require a tiny investment, are versatile and portable. Exercise bungee cords, also called stretch cords, exercise bands and resistance cables, are portable exercise tools for strength training, pilates and even yoga. Typically, the bungee cords can be clipped on and off handles or ankle cuffs to give you options for holding the cords, but cables affixed to handles may be used to perform the same exercises—by either holding the handles or tying the cables around your ankles in lieu of a cuff.
The body can be greatly challenged when it is on an unstable surface. Surfboard yoga is one exciting innovation I cannot wait to see. Practice of yoga on or near the water supports healing, strengthens mind and body, and builds confidence. Its constant flow leads us to be flexible while channelling the energy with clarity, respecting nature within and all around us. The movement challenges the skills of balance and mental focus.
Yoga on SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) is a practice that combines core training with a harmonious experience in nature. It can be practised in the ocean, on a lake, in a cove, as long as the space is safe and adapted for yoga practice. The gentle movement of the water supports relaxation as well, and it adds a new level of challenge to the balancing postures. It builds core strength, and requires a high level of mind-focus.
Plus, yoga at the beach is a beautiful, harmonious way to practise in a natural environment. The main muscles and movements are challenging in a way that brings mindfulness in the breath, clarifies the mind, warms you up, and strengthens and stretches your muscles for a better performance.
For those who are less aquatically inclined, there is always Surfset. The concept of a land-based surfer’s workout was the brainchild of former pro-hockey player and surfer-dude Mike Hartwick, who liked how riding waves all summer prepared him for a physically demanding hockey season. He tinkered with a few DIY attempts at adapting a surfboard to train on land before teaming up with a friend and fitness instructor. Together, they created the winning combination of a unique training tool and equally unique workout that is set to become all the rage.
Pole fitness is one of my favourite workouts and I love water, so you can imagine how excited I was to try out a pole workout in the pool. Guys, you may shy away from this but you can use the protocols of this fitness regime to your advantage. Aqua Pole Dance is the natural evolution of pole dancing in a watery environment. You do not have to work against the force of gravity, rather, have to work against water which, on the one hand, lessens traumas and tensions on tendons and joints during movement and, on the other, increases the amount of work the muscles have to do. Exercise in water is more intense when moving but easier when doing isotonic exercises, that is, during the static phase of movement. It is more difficult to get into position on the pole in water but it is easier to stay in position since the body is held up by the water. It is a great workout for anyone wanting to do highly intense moves and those who need to do exercise following an injury or joint trauma. It won’t look so girly when you can suddenly do 200 more push-ups, thanks to the intensive core training it needs.
Staying with the theme of more for less, look out for e-cycles. An electric bicycle, also known as an e-bike or booster bike, is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor that can be used for propulsion but retains the ability to be pedalled by the rider and is, therefore, not an electric motorcycle. E-bikes use rechargeable batteries and the lighter varieties can travel up to 25 to 32 kmph, depending on the laws of the country in which they are sold.
Of course, what is really needed is a super supplement that helps you recover, grow muscles, inhibit fat—one supplement to rule them all (currently, you need different supplements for different needs). I would simply call it Lord of the Pills! The icing on top of the proverbial cake would also be better-tasting protein shakes with no additional calories, and fat burners that do not have any side-effects—something similar to ephedrine that is not a banned substance and yet delivers results.
(Photos: Getty Images)