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In honor of National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, we’ve gotten creative in order to get you revved up about being the healthiest, fittest you.
1. Go Scuba Diving
This is a great complement for destination races, when you want to rest your running muscles before and after the main event but you want to stay active. A dive trip will give you a mental break (no cellphones allowed underwater!) but it will also boost your confidence as you commune with those creatures of the sea. Diving is a surprisingly good calorie burner too. Look into getting certified with your race buddies through PADI and you’ll be prepared for your next amazing race.
2. Hit the Trails on a Mountain Bike
Spinning and cycling are awesome—and obvious—workouts for your days off running, but mountain biking can help in other ways. You have to think about your center of gravity and keeping the bike upright in a way that will help your overall balance and control (yay, core strength!). A day of hill sprints will find you building aerobically on the way up and keeping mentally sharp on the way down.
3. Take to a Trapeze
Running isn’t the best for building upper-body strength (surprise, surprise) but now that trapeze schools have gained in popularity, many people can fly through the air with relative ease—if there’s a school near you. As you test your arm, shoulder and core strength, you can advance to harder tricks or even try silks. And if your upper body is weak, you can still do some basic flying.
4. Jump Rope Like a Kid
We can learn a lot from kids on the playground—from the smiles on their faces to the sweat on their brow. Jump rope is a particularly good one for elevating the heart rate and jumping has been scientifically proven to make you a better runner. Grab a loooong jump rope and get your run buds to join you for a little Double Dutch.
5. Play Ultimate Frisbee
Recently when I went to a trail running camp, I asked coach Eric Orton about the best cross-training for runners. I think he said soccer first, but ultimate was another suggestion. The bursts of sprinting required of players will help your running, and you can simply have fun and get some exercise tossing a disc one-on-one with a friend.
The great thing about all of these activities is you can do them with a friend or 10, so why not in honor of women’s health and fitness as an everyday pursuit, invite your girlfriends to join you?