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Fun ways to get fit in Singapore: Alternative sports, from pole dancing to paddle boarding

By: Amy Greenburg

Let’s face it, our same-old workout regimes in Singapore can get a bit boring, and we find ourselves craving new kinds of cardio. Are you looking for something a bit off the beaten path that’ll still get your heart revving? Singapore’s chock-full of alternative fitness options, and we’ve rounded up some of our favourites. These workouts are so fun, they’ll have you smiling while you sweat. In fact, you may even forget you’re working out at all.



Give it a Whirl!
No longer taboo, pole dance has gained popularity as a form of fitness in recent years, thanks to its core-strengthening qualities. A combination of dance and acrobatics, it requires endurance, flexibility and upper-body strength – and isn’t as easy as it looks.

Bobbi’s Pole Studio offers a variety of classes to suit all levels, from beginner to intermediate and advanced, so you’ll be able to find one you’re comfortable with. Each one-hour session includes a warm-up and stretching, followed by floor-work and pole tricks, and ends with a short dance routine incorporating the tricks learned that day. Whether you go alone or with girlfriends, it’s a fun way to loosen up and burn calories. Arrive in a tank top and shorts, and don’t forget the heels! For a $15 trial session, call 6333 4308 to reserve a spot. 222 Queen Street, #02-01.


What do you mean, 'she's not smiling'?! 

All A-Board
If you fancy a beach-based workout, then stand-up paddle boarding’s definitely worth a go. As one of the most ancient modes of transportation on water, this activity has become more mainstream in recent years – starting with a revival in Hawaii, followed by Australia, California and coastal European countries – as it’s great for body-sculpting and improves your balance. The SUP School at Tanjong Beach offers group and one-on-one sessions for both beginner and advanced paddlers – so, smother on some sunscreen and get on board with this growing fitness favourite.



Ice, Ice Baby
Whether you’re a newbie or an old pro, there’s lots of fun to be had – and calories to be burned – on the ice. The Rink offers group and individual lessons for both kids and adults, including a Core Blades class for beginners, figure- and speed-skating, and ice hockey, or you can opt for some freestyle skating during public skating hours. 2 Jurong East Central 1, Level 3 JCube. For schedules or to book a class, call 6684 2374.



Hop to It
Trampolines aren’t just great for kiddie parties, but for your health as well. In fact, studies have shown that ten minutes of bouncing on a trampoline can provide one of the most efficient workouts around, and the same level of cardio benefits as 33 minutes of running. Amped Trampoline Park offers 5,000 square feet of interconnected trampolines for jumpers of all ages – that’s right, you don’t need to have kids to come along. It’s best to book a slot in advance at one of Amped’s two locations – Jurong and Katong – to guarantee your bouncing space.



En Garde!
Fencing’s a great way to get active and shape up, while at the same time fulfilling those Game of Thrones sword-fighting fantasies. Z Fencing offers classes for both kids and adults in four locations: Toa Payoh, Bukit Timah, Novena and Buona Vista. Sign up for a four-week beginners’ group course or a private individual lesson. Go on, get sparring!



Tumble Time
If you think cartwheels are for kids only, here’s to proving you wrong. Gymkraft offers adult gymnastics classes where you can challenge yourself with floor exercises and trampolining, and other ways of getting in your daily cardio. Beginners can learn to do cartwheels, handstands and front-tucks, while more experienced ex-gymnasts and acrobats can continue to hone their skills under the supervision of a coach. 100 Guillemard Road. For schedules and class bookings, call 9128 4644 or head here.



Irish Invasion
From the outside, Gaelic football looks like a crazy mix of soccer, rugby and Aussie rules with a bit of basketball thrown in, but on the inside, it’s a tough, challenging sport for the super-coordinated bunch. Derived from traditional Irish ball games, it’s a form of football played by two teams with a round ball – slightly smaller than a soccer ball – that can be carried, bounced, hand-passed and kicked to a teammate or “solo” kicked, with points scored in the soccer-style goal, or over the rugby-style crossbar.

The Gaelic Lions have officially been in Singapore since 1997, with around 200 active players at any one time. Fitness and drill sessions run twice a week in the evening at the NUS Bukit Timah Track, plus two hours of pure football training on Sundays at SCC Dempsey Field. The season lasts from March through October, with a four-week break in June, after the first major tournament, the Southeast Asian Games. 

There’s also a cubs team for kids, which trains at Turf City on Sunday mornings and holds various social events throughout the year. For more details, head here.



Kick It Up a Notch
Originally invented by the Korean army to develop strength, speed and survival skills through unarmed combat, taekwondo isn’t just a useful self-defence tactic, but a major calorie-buster as well.

Taekwondo works the leg and hand muscles, and provides an overall body workout with kicks, punches, hand and foot blocks, sweeps, joint locks, grappling and throws. This type of training also builds strong hip and core muscles, and promotes flexibility, strength, cardio and balance. In addition to the body, taekwondo is great for the mind, as it enhances self-esteem and discipline, builds confidence and teaches self-defence.

Offering over 200 classes per week at its Millenia Walk and Katong branches, JH Kim Taekwondo has beginner, intermediate and advanced level classes for kids, teens and adults looking to practise the art in both group and private, one-on-one settings. There are four JH Kim Taekwondo locations in Singapore. To find your nearest branch, call 6299 0495.