LIFE.STYLE

Shock Your System

Text by Fiona Liaw

lifestyle While Surfset sessions are usually indoors, they can be outdoors too.

Tired of hitting the gym or trudging to the yoga studio to get fit? Give your routine a jolt with these unconventional sports that will spur you to work your body in new ways.

SURFSET Regain a mind-body balance

If you are keen to get a taste of surfing but don’t know where to start, try Surfset – workouts done on indoor surfboards that constantly rock forward, backward and sideways. Yoga and pilates enthusiasts may find some of the moves in Surfset familiar as it includes poses like high lunges and planks. Some sessions also include intervals of high-intensity aerobic moves such as burpees. But expect your balance and concentration to be challenged as you’ll need to fire up your muscles evenly so you don’t “capsize”. Tensing up the muscles in your shoulders, arms, core, back and legs to hold the poses can work them as intensely as surfing in the waves – you can develop a strong, toned body without being held at the mercy of the weather or needing to do 100 crunches daily. Who knows, practising to stay on board could train you to navigate swaying buses or MRTs like a ninja!

Expect your balance and concentration to be challenged as you’ll need to fire up your muscles evenly so you don’t “capsize”.

Classes start at $35 (45 min), packages available. www.surfset.sg

lifestyle2Learn breathing techniques and hone your muscle control to swim gracefully underwater.

MERMAIDING Fin into an enchanted world

Don’t underestimate the difficulty of mermaiding – at the Singapore Mermaid School, it isn’t just about looking pretty with a shimmering tail. The school currently offers three levels of classes: bronze, silver and gold. The foundational bronze level teaches one to swim with the mermaid tail in a style similar to that of a dolphin. Higher-level classes incorporate tips to stay calm underwater and training for “dancing” underwater with props. Learning to manoeuvre the tail helps to develop a stronger core and back muscles, and tones the legs. Diver Elaine Choo, who has completed the bronze courses, tells Challenge she was surprised by how mermaiding was similar to free diving – both activities teach techniques to hold and control your breath while underwater. Ms Choo also appreciates learning about merfolk mythology and values as part of the course, for a holistic experience. Expect to capture your splashing good time with a photo or video shoot at the end of the course.

Higher-level classes incorporate tips to stay calm underwater and training for “dancing” underwater with props.

$440 per level (for five hour-long group sessions). Single sessions and corporate events can be arranged. Classes are conducted in locations in Bukit Timah or Dempsey. www.themermaidsyrena.com

lifestyle3Catchy bossa nova tunes get players even more hyped up as they bounce around the court.

BOSSABALL Let your spirits soar

If playing team sports is your choice of activity, why not take it up a notch with Bossaball? It combines volleyball, soccer and plenty of jumping to bossa nova music for an exhilarating, adrenaline-charged workout. Two teams of four to six players battle it out on a huge inflatable court with trampolines on each side of the net – the first to 21 points wins. Enjoy the freedom of scoring with both your hands and legs, as well as other body parts including your chest or head. Playing on the bouncy surface will also stretch your cardiovascular endurance and leg strength to the limit. In fact, the most challenging part is often just to maintain balance, especially on the trampolines. Expect your legs to turn to jelly and your heart rate to soar within minutes. If you can’t make the trip down to the court, Bossaball can be brought to locations such as tennis courts and beaches too.

The most challenging part is often just to maintain balance, especially on the trampolines. Expect your legs to turn to jelly and your heart rate to soar within minutes.

$20/person (two hours), at Yuying Secondary School (47 Hougang Avenue 1, Singapore 538884). Private sessions (up to 15 people) from $550. www.bossaball.com.sg


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NATURAL MOVEMENT Back to basics

If you tire of the clinical feeling of air-conditioned studios, why not get some fresh air and revive your inner Mowgli with Human Naturally’s natural movement classes? These are based on MovNat, a fitness system rooted in the full range of natural human movements – walking, climbing, jumping and crawling, just to name a few. The goal is to restore these natural, functional movements that we tend to lose from being constantly desk-bound. Instructors guide groups of two to eight in natural settings to tackle “obstacles” like climbing trees, to hone their different functional movements. Much like when we played outdoors as children, these classes are playful, lighthearted and non-competitive, while offering the benefits of mobility and strength training. They are also perfect for beginners as there are a wide number of variations that allow students to progress to advanced versions of a movement only when they feel ready.

Much like when we played outdoors as children, these classes are playful, lighthearted and non-competitive, while offering the benefits of mobility and strength training.

$30 per class (1.5 hours, held twice monthly on Saturday mornings). At different parks around Singapore including the Singapore Botanic Gardens and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. www.humannaturallysg.com

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POUND® Beat out all your frustration

POUND®, a drumming-inspired workout, is sure to be a hit with cardio junkies. The class promises that in just 45 minutes, you’ll do at least 500 squats and countless lunges, experience a total of 70 techniques and 150,000 strikes – all while beating lightly weighted drumsticks to music. Pilates and yoga moves are also integrated into the class. Try hitting the drumsticks to the beat while holding the “bridge” pose (lie on your back, bend your knees with your feet close to your hips and lift your hips) – an exercise that will fire up your glutes, quads, and even your core. The result is a fun, full-body workout that helps you burn at least 400 calories. The instructors are mindful to provide many options to help you vary the intensity of the workout, so don’t worry even if you’ve been out of the fitness game for a while – just do what you can and listen to your body!

An exercise that will fire up your glutes, quads, and even your core.

Trial at $18 at NOCK or $96 for eight ActiveSg sessions. Available at various locations, including ActiveSg centres. nock.sg/poundfit or bit.ly/poundasg

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