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Five Ways To Stay In Shape And Have A Good Time

It’s halfway through the fall semester and the freshman15 may already be on its way. Not to mention, with the holidays just around the corner, serious family feasts are awaiting, and with big meals come those unwanted pounds. There’s never been a better time to get into an exercise routine than in the mid weeks of October.

There are lots of ways to get exercise and maybe even … have fun. Here’s a list of activities that are not only trendy, but are a heck of a lot of fun; oh yeah, they’re also good for you.

[ULTIMATE FRISBEE]

When most people think of these little flying discs, thoughts of childhood games of toss, spring-time picnics and beach days come to mind, but Ultimate Frisbee has more to offer than just a game of catch. “Ultimate” is not only one of the most popular intramural sports among many colleges, it’s also a competitive international game. The World Flying Disc Federation has branches and tournaments in Finland, India, Germany, Taiwan and across the United States. The rules of the game combine soccer and football with minimal contact. Ultimate is relatively cheap (all you need is a $15 Frisbee), and it’s a good team sport. For information on how Ultimate Frisbee is played and where to get in a game, check out www.wfdf.com, www.ultimatehandbook.com or www2.upa.org.

[CLIMBING]

By now you’ve probably already seen clips of snow-clothed ice climbers summiting Everest or shirtless daredevils scaling the sides of towering desert rocks, but you don’t have to travel to some exotic locale to experience the thrill of a climb. Rock gyms offer average-folk the chance to climb safely indoors with the supervision of professionals. Outdoor parks are becoming more popular as well, although it’s suggested that you are in the company of someone experienced if you want to forge new vertical territory. Websites like www.Rockclimbing.com and www.indoorclimbing.com offer suggestions on getting started and can help you locate spots in your neck of the woods or mountains or city or whatever.

[DODGEBALL]

Thanks to the help of Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn (and their True Underdog Story earlier this summer), this elementary school gym class staple is storming back to popularity with an older breed of players. The rules of the game are simple, and if you really aren’t familiar, the American Dodge Ball Federation (www.Americandodgeball.com) can clear things up (seriously). The game allows players to take out aggression and use athletic ability all the while wailing other players with quasi-hard red balls. Leagues are popping up all over the country, and tournaments have even been televised. The International Dodge Ball Association (www.dodge-ball.com) has a list of tournament officials in 31 states so you can find a league near you. Dodgeball encourages you to stay in shape and throw things at people as hard as you can. What could be more fun than that?

[BIKING]

It’s hard to go anywhere without seeing people proudly sporting the yellow “Livestrong” bracelets that support Lance Armstrong’s fight against cancer. After setting a new world record with six consecutive Tour de France wins, Armstrong has also brought competitive cycling into the mainstream. Biking has long been a major sport in Europe, but these days it’s catching on in the states. Whether it’s endurance street racing like the tour or outdoor mountain bike excursions, biking is finding a new audience of fans. Many cities are encouraging two-wheel travel these days with trails and paths that allow bikers to safely ride out of traffic. Your local bike shop can offer help in selecting a good starter bike for the novice rider or high-tech pedaling machines for experts.

[KICKBALL]

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Believe it our not, this grade-school favorite isn’t just for kids anymore. Kickball is quickly becoming an adult favorite with its combination of baseball structure and soccer skills. And guess what? Just like any “serious” sport, they have an international governing body (actually several). The World Adult Kickball Association (www.worldkickball.com) is the premiere sponsor for competitive kickball; with it’s listing of rules, tournaments and yes, world title. Now if you’re not into world titles but still want to have a kick’n good time, intramural and club teams are becoming increasingly widespread. Both CNN and ABC news have reported feature stories about the growing trend. To get in your own organized game, check WAKA’s listing of almost one hundred divisions throughout the country, or just set up your own playground game. After all, isn’t that how the game was meant to be played.

Of course you don’t have to be in some crazy sports league to stay in shape, but it’s always more fun try new things. Now you have no excuse, so get off the couch and go find yourself a game of dodgeball.

[Jesse Carey is a student at Oral Roberts University as well as an intern at RELEVANT. Him and Won Kim regularly win dodgeball tournaments around the central Florida area.]

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