Exercise and working out have the obvious benefit of bettering your life physically. But some types of training, group fitness, and sport-specific classes have other advantages as well. You might not even realize it, but depending on the activity you’re partaking in, you may also be learning a life skill. Some classes such as lifeguard training may be more obvious, but did you know activities like dance class and a round of golf can also serve as tools to help you gain other skills in your life? Read on to learn about some of the best multitasking fitness activities you can try.
If your knowledge of martial arts starts and ends with “wax on, wax off,” you can’t even begin to understand the fitness benefits of this form of movement. “Taking a martial arts class can impact you immensely when it comes to developing whole body coordination.
Most classes (especially ones like jujitsu) consist of a warm-up, learning and practicing a few specific moves, and then live sparring. “Many schools use the warm-up as a conditioning session, so there are lots of bear crawls, sit-ups, push-ups, and other exercises,” says Keith Wittenstein, a brown belt in Brazilian jujitsu.
“The sparring is extremely challenging physically, because you’re moving constantly and trying to wrestle an opponent who is trying to submit you.”
Real-life translation: Martial arts are also mentally challenging, though, and can help individuals develop problem-solving skills of the highest order.
“I believe that jujitsu develops the ability to be calm in the face of conflict,” says Wittenstein. “It trains people to become calm under pressure and to be sensitive to an opponent's moves.
The skill of being able to read people and to react quickly, and solve problems, is extremely valuable outside, as well as inside, of the dojo.”
Yoga is done at a slower pace than say running or jumping rope, but it still raises your heart rate and gets the blood flowing.
While there are numerous types of yoga classes, during most you can expect to work on strength and flexibility, and to have to hold yourself in challenging poses or flow through a series of poses for different lengths of time.
Real-life translation: Through this practice, yogis also learn how to move past discomfort in their lives. “All yoga teaches us how to breathe, stay present, and move past the discomfort by tapping into that deep parasympathetic breath,” says Kristin McGee, celebrity yoga instructor.
“In life, we will always encounter situations that can be uncomfortable, whether it’s dealing with relationships, or a painful moment, or an actual physical ailment.
Learning how to use our breath during these times can really help with the pain and emotional stress.”
Chances are you’ve heard about CrossFit, but if you think it’s just about doing Olympic lifts and kipping pull-ups, you’re wrong. CrossFit, by definition, is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.
But these movements can also be modified for different skill levels, so anyone from a high school athlete to a grandmother can do CrossFit.
Real-life translation: “Life is all about picking things up, like groceries or your kids,” says Santucci.
“Overhead lifts mimic things like picking up a suitcase and putting it into an overhead bin on a plane. And then exercises like deadlifts transfer to practical strength more than any other lift.”