Fitness outside the gym...sounds contradictory, doesn't it? For most, the idea of working out, getting in shape, being fit, or losing weight is directly tied to being in the gym. Or even further, it's this idea that it's 45 long minutes on a treadmill, or trying to figure out weights and machines you've never been taught how to use. For others, it might be that they don't prefer the gym environment altogether or being closed up inside, and even with trainers or in groups it's just not quite the right fit for them. And for some, it might simply be that they're looking to mix up their fitness with some variety or functional sport.
So let's explore the options that abound outside the walls of a fitness center or gym, and how we can utilize other opportunities in our community and area to aid our pursuit of health! There are so many ways to utilize our bodies, increasing and challenging ourselves. Below is a quick list of options that focus on a variety of sports around the Springfield area that all accommodate adults, giving us all an opportunity to feel like kids again 😉
Played it as a kid, but hung up your cleats long ago? Maybe never got the chance? If you loved the game or have always wanted to give it a try, there's an amazing facility called Lake Country Soccer (http://www.lakecountrysoccer.org) located on the north side of Springfield that offers a variety of leagues for adult soccer. There are varying levels of competitiveness, usually ranging from an A league to a D league. There are women's, men's, and co-ed team options. They run 4 indoor sessions; one in January, April, August, and November. (Here's a link for the indoor: http://www.lakecountrysoccer.org/adult-indoor ) They also hold an outdoor adult season, which usually begins in early June and ends in mid August. (Link for outdoor: http://www.lakecountrysoccer.org/adult-summer-outdoor/registration-and-information )
I've personally played at LCS's facility both for HS indoor, RSC club, and women's soccer. I've had a fun experience with every season! Soccer is an amazing way to work on cardiovascular fitness, while also improving your speed, agility, hand-eye coordination, and overall fitness, all while having a blast! You don't have to have experience or be an elite player to join a session so what are you waiting for? Give it a go 😉
If volleyball is a sport that's a little more up your alley, (and not so much running :D) there's an option in town for that too! The Springfield-Greene Country Park Board has an adult volleyball program from recreations to competitive levels. (https://www.parkboard.org/558/Volleyball) The have both women's teams as well as co-ed. I've never personally played with any of these leagues, but I have friends who have and I've heard great things! Volleyball is a fantastic way to develop overall athleticism, challenging reaction time, agility, speed, quickness, and hand-eye coordination as well as vertical power and height. If running isn't so much your thing, maybe give volleyball a go!
While not as commonly known to the general public, Ultimate Frisbee is a fantastic game. It could be compared to a cross between soccer and football of sorts, where the field moves similarly to soccer but the disc is handled with the hands. If you're up for quick sprints and awesome plays but don't like the challenge of handling things with your feet like soccer, Ultimate might just be for you. There's a rapidly growing interest in the sport of Ultimate in the Springfield area, and because of that there are now options for adults to play almost year-round. There's an 8-10 week Summer League, which typically runs from June-August (contact me for more info on this if you're interested), an 8 week Fall League now hosted by the Springfield-Green Country Park Board from late September-mid November, (https://www.parkboard.org/621/Ultimate-Frisbee), and a Winter League played indoors at Drury University. (Contact me for more info.) The level of competitiveness ranges form college players to first-timers, and everyone is welcome! I've played locally for 3 years in all three of the leagues, and it's one of the most enjoyable environments to play and learn in. Ultimate is a great way to challenge your cardiovascular fitness, sprint speed, overall stamina, agility, quickness, hand-eye coordination, and jump ability. If you're up for something new and want a fun way to stay fit, give Ultimate a shot!
If you're looking for something different than an average sport, maybe don't want all the running, or you are looking for something to challenge your fitness in a different and unique way, maybe consider rock climbing. Springfield boasts of an impressive rock climbing gym called Zenith Climbing Center, located on the North-East side of town. (http://zenithclimbing.com) Rock climbing is an amazing way to challenge functional strength, agility, mobility, balance, and body awareness and control. (And can even be a cardio workout if you're scaling a hard wall!) A bit slower paced than most sports and not as heavy on the impact or required athleticism, climbing might be just your thing. Zenith is a perfect place to learn the ropes; their skilled and knowledgable staff will help teach you all you need to know and get started on those walls. (They offer both bouldering, top rope, and lead climbing.) They also offer a silks class and yoga, if you want to add some variety to your functional fitness. I've been to the gym countless times, and have loved every minute. If you're up for something new or always wanted to climb, head over to Zenith and give it a try!
So there you have it; an entire list of local activities and sports to try, all great ways to get you outside of the gym and testing your physical limits in unique and fun ways! Go ahead and mix it up. Variety is key to a healthy, strong, well-rounded body 🙂