11 Incredible and Easy Ways to Get Fit Around the World

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Photo of Luke Bradshaw
Sports Editor12 September 2017

Whether modern or traditional – or somewhere in between – there is a huge variety in how we stay fit, active and healthy. We look at some of the differing ways across the globe.

Parkour, France…

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While parkour has spread across the globe, France remains its heartland. Parkour was first conceived as a development of military obstacle courses by a group of men from Lisses, France, known as ‘The Yamakasi’. The training discipline requires tremendous strength, agility and bravery while navigating across various features.

Doonya, USA via India…

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A combination of dance and fitness that combines east with west – think fitness class set to Bollywood music. Its founders grew up in the USA with Indian parents and created an exercise regime that includes four types of dance: bhangra, Bollypop, village celebration and classical dances such as Kathak.

Castell, Spain…

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Creating a human tower ten storeys in height requires a huge amount of balance, skill and strength. Castell-building is part of traditional Catalan festivals and the motto of castellers is “força, equilibri, valor i seny” (strength, balance, courage and common sense).

Arnis, The Philippines…

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Arnis is a weapon-based martial art and the national sport of the Philippines. Involving sticks or knives, as well as hand-to-hand combat, the sport requires a huge amount of training and technical skill.

Tai Chi, China…

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Steeped in history, tai chi is a practice that originated approximately 2,000 years ago in ancient China. The combination of deep breathing and gentle movement is widely believed to keep people fitter for longer.

Paleta Frontón, Peru…

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Paleta Frontón is Peru’s national sport. As a combination of squash and table tennis, it requires players to utilise their pace and stamina.

Aikido, Japan…

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Primarily developed during the 1920’s and ’30s, aikido requires physical conditioning and fitness training, as well as learning specific techniques for striking, throwing and grappling.

Outdoor natural pools, Australia…

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While swimming is a global practice, Australia offers its residents ample opportunity to swim in constructed swimming pools on the beach that utilise the beautiful surrounding sea water, meaning no chemicals whatsoever.

Capoeira, Brazil…

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Dance, music and acrobatics all combined in one beautiful Afro-Brazilian martial art. Manoeuvres are fast, complex and hugely varied, with a greater emphasis placed on skill, rather than power or striking opponents.

Belly dancing, Various…

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This expressive dance differs from country to country but is popular throughout the Middle East in particular. Dancers go from fast, sharp movements to slower, more fluid actions throughout routines. The undulations done in belly dancing are great for the spine and abdominal muscles.

Nordic walking, Finland…

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Because Nordic – in comparison to regular – walking requires poles to be forcible moved, the entire body comes under greater intensity as a result. Compared to normal walking, this exercise is far more beneficial for cardio-respiratory fitness and muscular fitness.