It seems like a lifetime ago that we were skating around a sweaty sports hall and becoming more intimate with our friend’s armpit hair than we’d ever like to admit, but as roller derby continues to be off the cards and the weather is warming up it seems like a wonderful opportunity to get in shape with a new sport.
As someone who has tried everything from breakdancing to windsurfing, rugby to ultimate frisbee, trying new and weird sports is something that I thrive off and am proudly a jack of all trades, master of none. So whilst we wash our still stinky elbow pads hoping to get back on 8 wheels soon, here are some sports to try that have kept me going over the past year.
There has not been a better time to switch up public transport for two wheels! Want to get super strong legs, save money on transport and save the planet? Cycling ticks all the boxes! I cycle (commute) everyday and I think it is the easiest way to get exercise and fresh air without having to give it much thought. Cycling by the river on a sunny day is guaranteed to put a smile on your face (but cycling in the rain sucks so maybe check the weather forecast!).
As an elephant footed child at ballet classes, I used to hate dance, but since I’ve got over the need for style or talent I have learned to love it. Dance is completely unlimited in what it can involve, it can be energetic or calming, carefully choreographed or completely random and it can happen anywhere! During the first lockdown, me and my partner endured many giggles and strange looks as we Dad danced in the queue for the supermarket or jived through the park. Put some music on and get moving!
3. Hula Hooping
Nothing ensures people stay the required 2m away from you like spinning a hula hoop does. Requiring core strength, balance and flare this skill will keep those derby muscles in check whilst impressing those around. You can learn the basics of on and off the body hooping from youtube and pick yourself up a fun coloured and appropriately weighted adult hoop for around £15 (I got mine from flamesngames.co.uk). P.S. If you want to take this to the next level, try putting your skates on like Kiki Lahula!
Yoyo-ing in and out of lockdown and restrictions whilst worrying about the virus itself has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health and whilst a downward dog is not going to fix everything, taking the time out to relax and unwind is really important. There are numerous youtube videos of yoga to suit anyone, whether you need a 15 minute stretch or an hour long spiritual journey – it’s a great way to stay in touch with your body and it’s free!
5. Outdoor skating
This might be an obvious one, but now the leaf debris and puddles are clearing up so it’s a great time to get back on wheels. Outdoor skating poses many new challenges for even the most experienced derby skater – hills, stones, wandering dogs and roads to name a few, but think about how much you will appreciate the smooth gym floor once this is over! Soon we will be able to skate together again so watch out for the NRD pack on a Wednesday evening cruising their way along embankment or hitting the ramps at a skatepark.
6. Dog agility
My Aldi dog agility set has to be one of the better purchases of lockdown and surprisingly has been as much of a workout for me as it has for my dog. As an aspiring jammer, agility is very important and my dog’s ability to outsmart me when it comes to doing the tricks on the course has led me to do a lot of it myself in an attempt to show her what to do. I know not everyone has a dog, but someone on your roller derby team definitely does, plus this ‘sport’ comes with cuddles and licks – what’s not to like!
I’m a little bit obsessed with windsurfing so there’s no way I can write suggestions for sports and not include it. There is something magical about being on the water that brings both calm and thrill, and whilst some watersports may involve a lot of learning and getting wet, others can be picked up quickly and done in your Sunday best*. Watersports centres will reopen on 29th March and many will provide all the gear and safety cover you need so why not take out a kayak or learn to wakeboard? Or better yet, make like our lot and get yourself a paddle board.
*I take no responsibility for you ruining your clothes
Many of us have spent the last year staring down, straining our necks as computer and phone screens became our only portals to the outside world. All the more reason to set your sights a little higher, 10ft high to be exact, and get your dunking shoes on. Some people think you have to be tall to be really good at basketball, and they are correct, but even the shortest of shorties can still have a highly enjoyable time playing this fast paced, interval sprint of a team game. It’s a great aerobic workout and is more about moving and passing than it is about jumping and dunking. Throw on your bounciest shoes and get down to your local court.