How People Exercise Around the World

Who does plain old aerobics anymore? When it comes to group exercise, your options run the gamut of creativity. Whether you’re in Los Angeles or London, check out these cool global fitness trends:

Put Some Spring in Your Step

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Where it’s popular: Los Angeles
What is it: Jogging on steroids.
What is it, exactly? Cross a pogo stick with a running shoe and you’ve got Kangoo shoes. Specially designed jogging boots (that’s what they look like), Kangoo shoes come outfitted with what is essentially a giant spring attached to each sole. While it would seem that their purpose is merely to add a bit more fun to your run, the shoes are actually designed to minimize impact and thereby reduce some of the stress that regular-shoed running might incur on the joints. Proponents also claim the sport burns 25 percent more calories. Photo source: kangoo-jumps.com

Dance with Your Dog

Where it’s popular: The U.K.
What is it? Dancing with your dogs
What is it, exactly? Participants train their dogs to jump through hoops, high five, crawl on command, and jump to the beat of music — then they dance and jump right alongside them. At the Swindon Dog Dancing School, for instance, pups and their masters meet every other week to learn the moves. Pros can take their shows on the worldwide dog-dancing circuit.

Note to those with little patience (or old dogs who don’t want to learn new tricks): the training is a lot harder than the dancing.

Turn Roads Into Bike Routes

Where it’s popular: Colombia
What is it? Empty streets give way to cyclists, rollerbladers, and joggers.
What is it, exactly? Every Sunday morning in several cities across Colombia, more than 120 kilometers of main streets are closed to cars so that cyclists, rollerbladers, walkers, and joggers can take to the streets and enjoy. Watch a short film about the weekly “Ciclovia” here:

Get Happy with Laughter Yoga

Where it’s popular: India
What is it? Organized laughter
What is it, exactly? Yoga teachers lead participants through a series of laughter exercises including forced belly laughing and unstructured “laughter meditation.” The practice was founded by Indian physician Madan Kataria, who believed not only do we laugh when we’re happy, but that laughing (real or induced) can actually make us happy, too. Not surprisingly, laughter has also been found to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, and reduce stress levels.

laughter yoga

Join a Few Million Others in Some “Radio Stretches”

Where it’s popular: Japan and China
What is it? Countrywide stretching done to the tune of a 15-minute national radio broadcast.
What is it, exactly? Every morning, Japan’s national radio station plays a 15-minute exercise program, rajio taiso, with cues to guide listeners through the series of calisthenics. The practice dates back to 1928 and is still done by millions. Watch hundreds of Japanese high school students performing the routine:

Bounce, Kick, Flip, and Serve with Bossaball

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Where it’s popular: Spain and Brazil
What is it: Possibly the most fun-looking sport ever
What is it, exactly: From the outside, it looks like a beach volleyball court. Look a little closer and you’ll see the trampolines. That’s when you’ll want to play… but can you? Invented in 2002, Bossaball is volleyball with a little bit of gymnastics, soccer, trampolining, and capoeira thrown into the mix. And it’s all set to music. You’ve just got to see it. Photo source: Bossaball Sports ©

 

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