Of course those of us who live in Boulder engage in all manner of hiking, biking, and/or yoga to keep ourselves the fittest city in the country. But those activities are pretty typical for a Boulderite’s workout. There are many more (strange and unusual) exercise options in our little city, some unique to our area, so why not try one out? Who knows, you might discover a new long-term practice.
The founder of the very first Parkour studio in the country, Ryan Ford, started Apex Movement several years ago to bring this form of street gymnastics to the public. Though you’ll see Ford more often at the Englewood Apex than Boulder, you can rest assured that the highest quality trained instructors are there to help you through your monkey business through their whole training schedule.
Not athletic enough for Parkour? Nonsense, says Ford. A wide variety of students of all ages and abilities practice at Apex Studios; you don’t have to be a Ninja Warrior competitor to have a good time getting good conditioning there.
And speaking of ninja warriors…
Martial arts is an intensely personal practice, and as such I wouldn’t presume to make one sweeping recommendation for any of the many martial arts studios here in Boulder. What I can do though is, as a martial artist myself, give an experienced overview of the three biggest, most nationally renowned studios here, and you can experiment with these styles (or others these inspire you to taste) and choose what works best for you.
What makes martial arts a good workout? It’s an anaerobic experience that gives strength conditioning, flexibility training, and of course self defense skills for a workout that pays attention to the whole body.
The Boulder Quest Center is the Boulder hub for an American version of Japanese style martial arts called To Shin Do. They are a good place to begin if you have zero experience in the martial arts, and especially if you’re a parent wanting to embark on a quest with your children.
Boulder Aikikai is an internationally renowned Aikido dojo, famous for its high quality training from teachers who have had their training passed down directly from the originator of the art. Aikido is a smoothly flowing martial art that has a lot of emphasis on rolling and kneeling: on being friends with the ground, which is good practice for any human.
Tran’s is a Boulder establishment of many years running. At Tran’s you’ll find a wide variety of contemporary self defense arts, from Muay Thai to Krav Maga, and plenty of fitness-centered kickboxing if the self defense journey isn’t your style.
Any of these three studios and more will fulfill your martial arts needs. Just stop in and do a taste test: all studios will have a free trial of some sort. Think of it as a demo before buying the whole game.
This is a sport of strength, but not the sort of strength that weights will gain you. Rock climbing is a combination of fine motor skills and endurance strength, and because we’re Boulder, we have multiple opportunities to engage in this sport outdoors or indoors. Be sure, if you choose to climb outdoors, that you’ve had proper training (at one of the above or other stellar climbing gyms) before venturing out.
Frequent Flyers is more about the dance aspect of this beautiful art, and Boulder Circus Center will train you in any number of circus and vaudeville skills. Both have classes for all ages and all levels, and both offer opportunities to learn about any number of flying apparatus, with no prior experience necessary.
Both these companies are brilliant in performance, so whichever you choose you’ll get the best of training on silks, trapezes of multiple kinds, and flying structures the likes of which you haven’t envisioned yet, both low flying and high. Or if the apparatus direction isn’t for you, look at the acrobatics course offered by the BCC.
Same admonishment as with Parkour: if you think there’s no way you could do that sort of thing, you’d be surprised how far you can progress in a beginning level class. It’s not just the super-young or super-agile who can do this sort of thing.
Which leads me to a closely related art:
Not just for “adult” dancers anymore, pole dancing is the hot new trend (for men and women) in fitness, empowerment, and dance practice. There are more than a few dance studios that offer pole as part of their curriculum, and a few that specialize in it, emphasizing the strength and flexibility combined to accomplish the art, but most of all centering on the pure fun and the empowerment this brand of dance can provide.
Again, with this as with all of the unusual workouts suggested above, you don’t have to be young, lithe, agile, or movement experienced in any way in order to enjoy and to reap the benefits of them as physical practices. Who knows, once you try one of these, you may just get hooked.