As the New Year dawns upon the world, despite the myriad of broken resolutions you’ve left trailing in the wake of every New Years celebration, it is impossible not to feel a jittery hope about the prospect of the new and improved you of 2014. There really is nothing like a clean slate, no matter how grave the damage from the carpe diem recklessness of the two-pronged Christmas and New Years attack. In fact, anything is possible when you have the joyous start of a new year on your side. Yet while your euphoric New Year invincibility will probably breeze you through the first weeks, unless you’re having fun, the slog of routine trips to the gym will have probably lost its glossy sheen by the time January is up.
For this reason, we’ve looked to Rio de Janeiro for the answer to all of our fitness woes. Why? Cariocas are known for their dedication to their great bodies but more importantly for their fun-loving laid back attitude. We’re put together a little guide on how they keep up their beach bodies, selecting some of the many popular activities which are simply too fun to give up, leaving them shedding pounds rather than tears.
Relatively new on the sporting scene, slacklining has taken Rio by storm in the last few years. For those unfamiliar with the sport, it involves walking or jumping along a thin band of elastic, a hybrid between trampolining and tight rope walking. Balancing your way along the line works out your whole core, and after the first session, muscles will ache which you didn’t know existed. Improvement is fast and even better, you need for the sport are a couple of well-placed trees and a line.
2.Connect with Nature
Cariocas are blessed to live in a city littered with amazing hikes and views. One of our favourites is the hike up to Pedra Bonita, where aside from the stunning view from the top you can give yourself the ultimate reward of a hang-gliding trip from the summit down to the beach below. If you’re looking for some adventure, you can head into the Tijuca forest, the largest urban forest in the world, which feels more jungle-like than forest and has dozens of trails which lead to secluded waterfalls, the perfect way to cool off after a hike.
Don’t be fooled by appearances, although paddle surfers may look incredibly relaxed as they glide along the surface of the water, paddle boarding is a tough sport which uses all muscles. Explore the ocean from a new angle, and for a really enjoyable experience, paddle surf during the golden hour where the ocean lights up and the sunset is all yours.
4.Buff up in the Beach-side Gym
When you live in a city as beautiful as Rio, it seems a crime to be doing reps inside a gym. Fortunately as well as the well-marked cycle lanes and running areas, for those who want to buff up there are open air “gyms” along the beachfront, free to use and great fun. As well as being out in fresh air, the people-watching opportunities are endless, from the inflated young lads with arms like legs of ham to the wizened older ladies dwarfed by enormous visors who quickly overtake them.
In the UK we have Zumba, in Brazil they have Samba Fit – A dance come fitness class for those who like to shake their stuff to samba grooves. Not only will you be sweating out each and every one of those mince pies, but you’ll be prepping yourself for the dance floors in Brazil. Two birds with one stone anyone?