Go Zorbing, have fun and burn calories

Cycling, running and jogging are not cool anymore. It’s zorbing that has caught on among Maduraiites. The next time you feel bored, head to the food court at Milan’em Mall, not to eat but to zorb.

Right in the middle of the food stalls sits a structure that looks like a little swimming pool. Surrounded by an air-filled plastic bund, the water inside is quite inviting. But the moment you see the zorb, a huge plastic bag that becomes a ball when inflated, you go clueless about what to do. “You need to get into that ball,” announces Yusuf, who has set up the game. “Zorbing means walking on water and it’s a popular adventure sport in the Middle East. It’s for the first time in South India zorbing is done inside a mall and it’s something very new for Madurai people.”

Zorbing can be explained simply. Visualize yourself inside a huge transparent plastic ball that floats on water. “All one needs to do is try to balance oneself and walk inside the ball,” says Yusuf. “When the ball bobs on water, it gives a feeling of walking on water and yet the person will not get wet.” He adds, “Proper zorbing for five minutes is equal to running for 15 minutes on the treadmill. When people come out of the ball, they sweat a lot.”

It was the joint effort of Yusuf and his friend Vicky that brought zorbing to Madurai. “We searched on the net and found that only in Delhi and Mumbai zorbs have been installed inside a mall,” says Yusuf. “Otherwise, zorbs are mostly used outdoors.” The one installed at Milan’em Mall is customized to a square of 16 feet to suit kids. The ball is six feet in diameter and anyone weighing below 50 kilos can use it. “It’s imported from Germany and costed us around 2 lakhs,” says Yusuf. “In bigger swimming pools and in zorbing balls measuring eight feet, adults can be accommodated.”

A person can remain within the zorbing ball for 20 minutes without suffocation. “The zorb is inflated with oxygen and only then the person is let inside,” says Yusuf. “There are also land zorbs that are used on hill stations and deserts called ‘rolling zorbs’.” Apart from the fun factor, kids can also get good exercise through the activity. “Initially, it may look intimidating but it really feels great to be inside the zorbing ball and walk on water,” says 12-year-old Adil. “I would love to lose weight this way.”

Yusuf says that these kinds of adventure sports are a way for obese kids in the west to engage in regular fitness activities. “It’s been just a week since we started and the response is good, while on weekends, we get a queue of kids,” says Yusuf. “Even some college girls and thin women tried it out. For safety, we allow only three minutes of zorbing for a charge of Rs. 50.”

So, if you are looking for fitness the fun way, just go zorbing!

Keywords: zorbing game