There is one universal truth that I have discovered in my short existence on this planet and that is, if it isn’t fun, then I am likely not going to be able to do it very long. It’s a weakness that, in truth, has probably cost me quite a few opportunities throughout life. Boring teachers meant failed classes, not being handed a sword on the first day of Karate led to me giving up my ninja aspirations, and fitness was most certainly never something I was interested in. I have come to recognize this flaw and that allows me to properly prepare myself for all variety of scenarios. For example, when I made my decision to get healthy I knew it would have to be accomplished in a way that was fun and provided me results.
In all reality, I think most people probably operate the same way. I decided that I wanted to ride a bike. If you have looked me up around the internet you undoubtedly know this already, primarily because I now never shut up about riding my bicycle. However, there are many other things I have discovered along my journey that have been equally enjoyable. I hope to try out lots of new ways to get some exercise in coming articles so we can find out once and for all which ones are really fun, and which are just torturous.
I purchased a membership to a local gym last Fall after a year of working out only on my bicycle. Primarily I needed a place to continue my fitness pursuits during the colder months when I would likely chicken out on riding. I did some of the usual gym stuff, but per the norm, I was soon getting bored. Treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, and weights are all pretty boring despite what any fitness fan will tell you. Still I was committed to doing something! I figured that running would be a good thing to do to keep up with the whole cycling thing. Running requires legs, cycling requires legs… makes sense, right? That doesn’t change the fact that running in-doors is incredibly tedious and painful if you aren’t experienced. I worked my way through a few cold months of running by listening to audiobooks. A long time reader, audiobooks provide a perfect opportunity to make running considerably more enjoyable. Services like Audible.com offer a cheap-ish way to get quality books on the go. Still… I found running more of a chore than anything else. I needed something fun or I was doomed.
Then one night I was struck with an incredible realization…
Actually I was struck with a tiny rubber ball in the face while running on a treadmill. After I got up from the floor where the treadmill had politely placed me, I found myself staring into the caring, warm eyes of a massive black man with arms as big as my legs. He helped me up and squeaked out a few expletives aimed at the racquetball players responsible for hitting a poor shot. His high pitched voice made the entire thing feel like a bad Saturday Night Live sketch. This was my introduction to racquetball. I went downstairs to return the ball and then stood to watch the two players for a bit.
Racquetball is a fairly fast-paced game most often played by two people. Players use rackets that are smaller than those used in tennis, but larger than ping-pong paddles. The players take turns smacking a bluish rubber ball around a large enclosed court. Basically one person serves the ball off the back wall from a box in the center area of the room and then the next player cracks it back against the same wall. You go back and forth running around to chase the ball until eventually someone misses it and a point is scored. The catch is that you can also smack the ball off of the other walls, and even the ceiling, as long as it hits the back wall eventually before touching the ground more than once. It’s kind of like being in one of those cash cubes where the fan comes on and blows money all around making you look like a total goober as you grab for the flying cash. The biggest difference, of course, is that the room is much, much larger and the cash is replaced with a high-speed ball that leaves welts when it hits you. I could get more detailed than that but the most important thing to understand is that it is a LOT of fun. The game is fast paced enough to get a good workout, but offers plenty of time to catch your breath in between serves.
A lot of gyms have at least one racquetball court and typically you can play for a few dollars without signing up for a membership. I would recommend checking out your local YMCA or YWCA if you have one! Even if you don’t have another person to play with, give it a shot. You might feel a little silly in one of the large white walled rooms yourself, but it is still a lot of fun to crack that little ball of the wall and chase it around, not to mention a great workout. If you want more information on the actual rules of the game simply search YouTube for Racquetball and there are a plethora. As far as fun ways to get a workout go, this one is at the top of my list.