GoodGym leader Egg Cameron tells Social Vision all about her ’40 activities in 40 days’ challenge and gives us a great insight in what activities are available in and around York. Hula Hooping for goodness sake – who knew?
With an impending foot operation that will take me out of (physical) action for a while, and an impending puppy too, I decided I would set myself a challenge: to try 40 new activities in 40 days. My aim was to take myself out of my running, gym and cycling comfort zone and find some new things to keep me active.
In York we are blessed to have a plethora of sports and active pursuits available. St Nicks do a fabulous Ecotherapy program designed to “promote good mental and physical wellbeing through outdoor activity in a natural environment”. Activities ranging from Nordic Walking to Woodworking, and I can vouch that Nordic Walking is a decent workout which really recruits the upper body.
I enjoy doing some conservation volunteering in my spare time and this challenge was a great opportunity to get involved with some really green exercise. I did a day of hedgelaying with Sustrans, which involved creating a hedgerow by partially cutting down hazel (read: lots of sawing and lifting big trees), with GoodGym we did a coppicing task at Acomb Wood (read: lots of sawing, lopping and lifting big trees) and with York Greenways I did some scything to promote wildflowers too.
Dancing for me is usually confined to my kitchen or friend’s weddings (where it should probably stay), but I discovered a new love during the challenge and that love is Ceilidh dancing. Jigging along to Irish folk music and being told what steps to take is brilliantly fun and sociable. It’s also low cost and really for anybody of any fitness level. If you’ve never been to a Ceilidh, I really urge you to have a go. There’s a list of York-based ones here.
Along with Ceilidh dancing, I tried sexy Salsa, tap dancing and ballet too. No breakdancing clubs in York sadly (if you know of one, please please tell me!).
Then there were other, more normal types of sports; badminton, squash, rowing, kayaking, bouldering at the brilliant and friendly Red Goat Climbing, trampolining and errr… crazy golf – that counts, right? I tried yoga, hot yoga, pilates and even PiYo, which is pilates and yoga combined. I even tried the Laser Tunnel at Xscape which gives you the opportunity to embrace your inner ninja by leaping and commando rolling through a dark room whilst avoiding laser beams.
You might not know that you can rollerski in York. Rollerskiing is like cross-country skiing but on wheels, you can try classic, which is a forward and back motion a bit like extreme walking, or you can try skate, which is a more physical type that requires a bit more balance and coordination. Sessions take place at York Sport and are coached by Snowsport England.
Of all the activities I tried, the best was learning some circus skills with the absolutely wonderful Jen Parry at High Hoops . Jen runs a community-minded business in the York area and it is impossible not to finish one of her sessions without a huge smile on your face. I discovered her via a Facebook event for a charity hula hooping session on International Women’s Day. I had no idea how many thing you could do with a hula hoop, but it’s a lot. She makes everything fun and I ended the session much more worn out than I thought I would be.
I immediately booked in for several other activities with her including aerial hoop, silks, trapeze and the challenging but very satisfying cloud swing. All her sessions take place in a converted church and the skills can be levelled up or down depending on your level of fitness (and fear of heights).
Trying so many new things really opened my mind to other possibilities, as well as introducing me to some inspirational local people that I otherwise would not have come into contact with. My take home lesson is to branch out, say yes, and try something new. Who knows what you’ll discover?
Want to get fit with Egg? Find out all about her coaching here
And for you wannabe runners, why not combine a run with a community task? That’s what GoodGym is all about and Egg would be your most enthusiastic (and super friendly) coach.