Want to stay fit but don’t like the gym? Like exercising but don’t like the routine methods? Well, here are some options to combine fitness and fun.

Take a hike

Formed with a motive to help outdoor and nature enthusiasts to find and connect with each other, Chennai Trekking Club (CTC) organises frequent treks in South India. With many youngsters in the group, this is one ready option for those who love to combine fitness and excursions together. CTC has a variety of activities that include trekking, cycling, bike trips, photography trips, running, marathons, triathlons and swimming. From environmental awareness and conservation through regular cleanups and tree plantations, you could also choose trips with less privileged children or choose a workshop that has a mix of outdoor and indoor activity like photography, map reading and navigation. CTC members meet weekly.

You can sign up for free after which you will receive regular emails on upcoming programmes. Trekking involves walking over various types of terrain including sandy trails, forest vegetation, river boulders and climbing over rocks.

Treks are divided into easy, moderate and difficult courses. Trekking improves stamina, strengthens knees, ankles and legs. Besides, spending time amid lush green nature and breathing fresh air refreshes mind and body. Some treks require climbing uphill over rocks. In many cases, it also includes swimming across streams and pools where the entire body is exercised. A moderate or difficult two-day trek overcoming various natural obstacles with a full back pack can be more intense than spending a full week in the gym. Trekking in a tropical climate like South India also causes lots of sweating (to be replenished with drinking water) which flushes out the toxins from the body and the fresh mountain air purifies the lungs and blood.

This group helps its members in overcoming physical obstacles, motivates them to overcome mental boundaries and come back refreshed after every trip.

Website: www.chennaitrekking.com

Dance away

True to its Latino origin Zumba classes can be held anywhere. That’s what makes Zumba special. Open to all, group class takes place thrice a week. There are no rules to join zumba. If one loves music, dance, fitness or any one of the points listed then they'll definitely love zumba. If you want to watch it and then join make sure to not just watch it but also try it for a few minutes to get a feel of it.

This exercise form uses various dance styles like merengue, cumbia, salsa, reggaeton, belly dance, samba and tango. Zumba follows intermittent training by which you lose more calories and that what makes the 60 minutes an hour of fitness fun. It incorporates many dance styles and infuses it with fitness to make a fun group workout. The very fact that every Zumba session helps you burn 500- 800 calories just by moving in the class makes it a preferred workout. As a workout is also helps as you de stress mainly, and that’s why it’s often called a fitness in disguise. Zumba helps you move like you are dancing at a party as it has got no right and wrong which in turn works on every muscle in your body. This helps them lose weight and tone their muscles as every instructor uses a lot of variations in their schedule. With every individual waiting to participate, its adds to the motivational factor.

Contact: Pradeepa Raj at zumbapreity@gmail.com

Run along

Running is probably not the easiest of workouts but it is fun nonetheless, especially if you are in a large group. Chennai Runners is one such group created to set up an informal running network and to help each other and spread the running mantra. And if you think you have the passion and interest for running then go ahead and join. Though their main focus is on running, there are many who also do yoga, swimming and cross training as a group.

The group meets thrice a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.  While the first two days they meet in Abhiramapuram, on Sundays they meet at Anna University. We all know that running is a good cardio workout but the joy it brings to a person after they have finished the run should also be counted.  

Running is simple; you can get out and run.  Though it is an individual sport that builds physical and mental fitness, group running helps the runners exchange notes and network. With like-minded people working out together, it is always fun on the go!

Website: www.chennairunners.com

Pedal away

With so many people choosing to stay indoors and refusing to come out and explore, a group of enthusiasts started a cycling group to appreciate nature and stay fit. Cycling down a picturesque trail along with other enthusiastic cyclists gives this cardio workout a fun twist. The group encourages people to have fun on the way and also relieve all the stress they have been absorbing through the week. What started as a five to six member team has now grown to over 2000 members. Each week this group cycles from Tirvanmayur to Mahabalipuram. It’s once a month workout schedule with enough help for loading cycles, first aid and traffic help. Anyone interested to take part can either bring their own cycle or can rent one. Cycling helps in the overall toning of muscles, fights obesity and builds strength in a holistic manner since every single part of the body is involved. Cycling outdoors is also a good way to be one with nature and to feel the wind on your face. It destresses and rejuvenates the soul. Even people who have to abstain from heavy workouts and aerobics can take up cycling to stay fit.

The group has also seen many smaller groups being formed who carry on shorter trips and other trails on a regular basis. There’s just one requirement — you must know how to cycle.

Contact: www.facebook.com/ReaXionCycling

Mid-air fun

You know when a group is formed to introduce an activity to sport enthusiasts, that its semi serious and demands fitness. So when Ultimate Frisbee was formed interesting as it seemed there was never a dull moment for anyone taking this up. With importance being given to cardio-activity it is probably the most demanding sport in terms of fitness. This group meets three to four times a week for about two hours each.

Playing Frisbee involves a lot of sprinting, jumping and team-work. Basically it’s a thorough workout for the lower body and you end up burning at least 1200 calories every hour. If you want to know how this would be different you need to know that though you will not be lifting weights this workout is far more fun than running on a treadmill. Ultimate Frisbee emphasises the use of mind and body. A successful Ultimate Frisbee player is a very smart player, knowing how to use strategy and strengths of his teammates to win the game.

After every game you are bound to feel fit physically and mentality, agile and will also praise yourself for thinking well.

As this group encourages people from all walks of life, you may actually meet and make friends too.

Contact: Just turn up at the Elliots beach, Besant Nagar, at 6.30 am on weekends.