Fitness Around the World: Worldwide Trends and Sports For Active, Healthy Lifestyles

Fitness is a universal language. Individuals around the globe are becoming more proactive in maintaining fit and healthy lifestyles. Although the desire to stay fit is becoming a common link amongst nations, the ways by which we choose to get fit often vary. Thankfully, there are many roads that successfully lead to “destination fitness.” Discovering what other countries are doing to stay fit can be a useful means of identifying new ways to exercise. The fitness world extends past the gym. Interestingly, people from all parts of the world are trying to stay in shape. Here are some of the amazing ways athletes are exploring fitness around the world.


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Bouldering in France

Unlike traditional rock climbing, bouldering doesn’t require a lot of ropes and harnesses. The climbs are shorter and the concentration is on building strength versus endurance. The area around Fontainebleau in France is well known for its concentrated bouldering regions. French alpine climbers have been bouldering their since as early as the 19th century. Today, it remains a favored climbing location and one of the most developed bouldering areas in the world. Climbing this mecca will afford you an extraordinary view and amazing full body workout at the same time.


fitness around the world biking

Biking in Denmark

Cycling is a well-liked recreational activity in Denmark. It’s become increasingly recognized for over 12,000 km of sign-posted cycle routes, gentle terrain, short distances between amenities and amazing scenery. Denmark is most certainly a country made for cyclists. The Danes are famous for riding their bikes everywhere. According to 2014 Bicycle Statistics from Denmark, nearly 36% of Danish adults ride a bike to work daily or once a week, which has been proven to be highly beneficial to their health. Statistics also support that commuting by bicycle to school and work contributes to higher cardiovascular fitness in Danish adults and children.


Walking Backwards in China

Backward walking, also known as retro walking, is said to have began in ancient China, where it was utilized for good health. Tourists in China are often surprised when they see people in the park walking backwards. Walking backwards has been proven to build muscle, improve sports performance, alleviate knee pressure and improve balance and posture. It also allows you to exercise muscles in your legs that are not commonly used. Ancient rumors have it that walking backwards can reverse your karma, and ward off dementia.


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Dance in Ghana

Kukawa was named for its inventor and internationally acclaimed dance performer, Kukuwa Nuamah. Kukuwa Dance Workout is a full-body activity that can burn up to 1,000 calories in a single class. It is a low impact, high-energy workout designed to target your cardiovascular system. It’s almost impossible not to move to the rhythm in the beat-fueled class. It’s been a popular exercise practice in Africa that is quickly making its way to America.


Unicycling in Great Britain

Unicycling is a common form of exercise in Great Britain. It is considered a low-impact activity. The unicycle is a single-track, person-powered transportation device on one wheel. It requires the rider to master a balance and ride skill set. Not only does this sport require more balance than a traditional two-wheeled bike, but riders must also pedal rigorously while cycling, which also makes it a challenging and fun form of exercise. Unicycling is favorable for several reasons. Based on research by the Hilary Commission in New Zealand, performed regularly, unicycling is an aerobic exercise that lowers your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Initially, first time “unicyclers” commonly report experiencing fatigue. However, as their body adapts, they report increased stamina and extra energy.


Trekking in Puerto Rico

El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the United States national park system, with over 23 miles of well-preserved trails. It’s likened to a scenic adventure. On a clear day, the view from the top of El Yunque is said to be breathtaking. Looking out over the lush green treetops, you can view the blue water of the northern coastline. El Yunque trail has a difficulty rating of moderate to challenging. The round-trip takes about 3 to 4 hours, depending on your fitness level (and how much time you take to admire the scenery). When you’re done trekking, you can take an easy ten-minute walk to the waterfall to rest, cool down and take in all this attraction has to offer.


fitness around the world crossfit

CrossFit in USA

This is an exciting fitness trend founded in 2000 in Santa Cruz, California. One of the reasons CrossFit has become so popular in America is because it simultaneously fosters healthy competition in a supportive atmosphere. CrossFit, Inc. incorporates high-intensity interval training, weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics and every other exercise move you can possibly imagine. It is practiced by members of over 9,000 affiliated gyms, most of which are located in the United States. CrossFit is ideal for indoor and outdoor exercising.


fitness around the world

Bossaball in Spain

Bossaball is a ball game between 2 teams, combining elements of volleyball, football, gymnastics and Brazilian dance. This sport is nearly 11 years old and continues to gain popularity in countries, including its origin country of Spain. It is a high-energy sport, requiring players to constantly move around on a trampoline while playing a game similar to volleyball. The change in gravity, combined with the safety provided by the inflatable surface, encourages a full range of techniques, strategies and team tactics. Bossaball allows you to spike down a ball from unseen heights and play the ball in creative ways. It is a spectacular attraction that draws the crowds wherever it goes. Players often enjoy Latin American music and referees who double as DJs. It is primarily played on beaches, but due to its portability, Bossaball is a great indoor and outdoor recreational sport.



This article was originally published in the Late Summer 2014 Issue of VETTA Magazine.

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