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How can I get agile, flexible and strong in a fun, dynamic way?
May 28, 2011 4:09 PM   Subscribe

I want to be a superhero!

What activities can I do to gain strength and agility? I want to be nimble and spry, superhero-style. You know, dodge bullets, do a handspring, duck and run. I am 41, female, out of shape and want to regain fitness, but can't stomach the idea of a routine of gym-going, pushups, running etc. I took a (modern) dance class years ago and loved it. It was dynamic, fun and required mental energy, with fitness a side-effect of working toward a goal (learning steps, mastering choreography for a performance). What other activities will get me where I want to go? Bonus points for things I can do outside of a class environment, but this is not a requirement.
posted by lulu68 to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Martial arts.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:10 PM on May 28, 2011


Aikido
Krav Maga
Cycling
posted by ainsley at 4:12 PM on May 28, 2011


I live in Vancouver, and have been taking classes at Academie Duello, a western martial arts studio. Besides the sword work, they have an ongoing class called "swordfit" that's about general strength, fitness, agility and flexibility. It doesn't get into gymnastics, but it's a hell of a workout that focusses on general, well rounded fitness and ability. Look for something similar around you.
posted by fatbird at 4:14 PM on May 28, 2011


I think anything that keeps you active, especially with short bursts of rapid movement, will help. Tennis, soccer, ultimate frisbee... also seconding some martial arts.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:18 PM on May 28, 2011


I'd say circus skills - tumbling is like gymnastics but not so formal, and obviously there's trapeze etc.

And parkour/free running looks pretty superhero.
posted by Not Supplied at 4:29 PM on May 28, 2011


If you liked the dance class, you might enjoy Capoiera
posted by jason's_planet at 4:30 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Slacklining

A while ago, I did a post on bodyweight strength training that you might find useful.
posted by jason's_planet at 4:33 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Parkour and gymnastics can be really tough on the joints, particularly if you are currently over weight (you said you are out of shape, which doesn't necessarily mean over weight). It is a young person's hobby.

Something like aikido would be perfect. You learn to become really aware of your body and its position in space, which is essential to dodging bullets. Learning how to fall is even more important than knowing how to toss someone, aikido will teach you both. I also found it to be a lot of fun.

Also, hang out around radioactive insects.
posted by munchingzombie at 4:38 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Skill Development module
posted by jason's_planet at 4:39 PM on May 28, 2011


2nding Capoiera. There is a learning curve, but it will whip your butt into shape and teach you many new feats of skill and strength.
posted by gnutron at 4:53 PM on May 28, 2011


A lot of gyms have fitness classes which are far more than just lifting or traditional calisthenics. My gym has a class that's styled after a sort of martial arts lite, another one that's sort of a hip-hop dance thing, and yet another that's sort of yoga-like. Of course, you could always actually take a class in any of those things, but these have the advantage of coming with the membership fee.

Also, as one who's spent an inordinate amount of time, in a professional capacity no less, thinking about the logistics of superheroism, I can't say as I recommend it as a career path unless you can gin up invulnerability or super strength. But if you can do that, well... Just sayin'.
posted by valkyryn at 5:00 PM on May 28, 2011


Bollywood dance class!
posted by yarly at 5:12 PM on May 28, 2011


I'm a fan of inline skating, myself. It only really works if you live near some nice bike paths, and you need to make an initial investment of money in equipment and time in learning how to do it. But it's a kick-a** workout and you feel like you're flying. I can do it for an hour-plus and not be bored in the slightest.
posted by indognito at 5:53 PM on May 28, 2011


dynamic, fun and required mental energy, with fitness a side-effect of working toward a goal

This is exactly why I go to a rock-climbing gym regularly. It's enormous fun, there's a lot of problem-solving, development of discrete skills rather than just retracing identical perfected physical motions over and over, and the great workout I get is almost incidental to the fun I have.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:03 PM on May 28, 2011


Learn to box. Nothing quite like a stiff jab between the eyes to spur one's continued improvement.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 8:21 PM on May 28, 2011


n-thing Aikido and Capoeira; Aikido might be easier to pick up depending on the quality of instructors available.

Gymnastics and Parkour are the skills that you are asking for. Both kinda require extreme physical fitness; great strength/mass ratio, flexibility, and aerobic endurance. These traits will require strength training, movement training (yoga might be great), and boring stuff like sprinting/running/track&field.

Jogging/swimming to lose weight and gain endurance, yoga to gain flexibility, gymnastics to learn about your body, freeweights to gain strength.

Or maybe Western fencing? Epee, perhaps. Lots of sweating and quick movements. "Killing with the point lacks artistry, but don't let that hold your hand."

There's no shortcut. Unless you join a hunter-gatherer society who're going to drop your ass if you don't contribute, you're going to have to suck it up and (make yourself!) work to get into shape. The key, I guess, is to choose to do something that you enjoy doing - with the side effect that it gets you really fit. Sailing... old-school sailing burns a ton of calories and works a lot of "sexy" muscles.
posted by porpoise at 8:30 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pole dancing. I have a friend who takes classes and loves it. It takes a lot of strength to do the routines, and the classes aren't all hoochie-coochie.

Not that pole dancing is necessarily a super power ("Stand aside, citizens! Pole Woman is here to save the day!") but you could toss it into your mix as a way to work out your legs, shoulders, arms, and core. Plus you could wear a Wonder Woman costume while doing it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:49 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


You may want to check out Ido Portal
He has a bunch of training videos on his YT channel.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:33 AM on June 1, 2011


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