Want to shed the Christmas pounds but can’t face the gym? Try one of these six unusual ways to get fit. 


1. Skydiving

Now you may not think that falling out of a plane could help you to keep fit, but you may be surprised to discover that it’s a great workout. Not only does the adrenaline rush of plummeting towards the earth at up to 120mph speed up your metabolism, but it’s an incredibly physical sport too, building upper arm strength when you’re controlling the parachute, and working on the big muscle groups in your lower body when landing. Plus lugging all that skydiving gear around certainly helps too. Experts claim that you can burn off up to 230 calories with an hour’s skydiving activity! The Peterlee Parachute Centre is a 20-minute taxi ride from Durham station. Find out more at skydiveacademy.org.uk


2. Zombie Slaying

If you’re looking for an even more unconventional way to lose a few pounds, why not pay a visit to the Zombie Manor House, near Warrington? You’ll be trained in the art of extinguishing the undead as you race to secure the house and save your skin. This could be the most intense three hours of your life! For more info, go to zedevents.co.uk/events/themanor


3. Roller Derby

Ladies, sharpen up your elbows and take 
to your wheels for a spot of roller derby. Edinburgh’s Auld Reekie Roller Girls is one of the longest-standing flat track derby teams in the UK, and is always looking for new members. And if you don’t fancy the hurly burly of the derby itself, it’s a great game to watch, too. Bouts take place at the Meadowbank stadium, just a 25-minute bus ride from Edinburgh station. Visit arrg.co.uk


4. Rock Climbing

For a less high-impact but equally strenuous activity, have a go at indoor climbing. The Berghaus Climbing Wall in Newcastle’s city centre offers sessions for beginners and seasoned climbers alike. You can learn with an expert instructor, safe in the knowledge that you’re fully roped up, and that the big soft red mats will break your fall. To find out more got to climbonline.co.uk


5. Fencing

If you’re looking for an intense, full body workout with elements of skill 
and strategy, then you should try your hand at fencing. You can learn the way of the sword at the Manchester Fencing Club, whose coaching team includes a former Olympic fencer. You’ll be shown the techniques and tactics of the sport, as well as building up your fitness levels as you learn. Find out more at manchesterfencingclub.org.uk


6. Kiteboarding

If you want to work on your upper body strength, then have a go at kiteboarding. Said to be the fastest growing watersport, this high energy outdoor pursuit will get your arms pumping and your pulse racing. Eastcoast Kiteboarding in Cleethorpes offers one, two and three day courses that will have you carving through the waves with the wind your only engine. For more info, visit eastcoastkiteboarding.co.uk


How do you do it?

Beautiful countryside, fresh air... Kendal is the perfect place to start a new year health kick. We asked the locals: “How do you work off all that Mint Cake?”   


James Taylor

“I read recently that running backwards really helps with posture and is good for the knees, so I’m going to give that a go.”


Jennifer Duran

“Hula-hooping. I’m a massive fan of Zooey Deschanel from New Girl and she does it. So I got a DVD and, well, there’s loads more to it than you might think.”


Simon Evans

“Well, we’re in the right part of the world for fell running and basically that’s what I do. It is incredibly demanding, but I don’t know anything else that will get you as fit.”


Nick Meecham

“As often as I can I go, open water swimming, as there are beautiful places to swim throughout Cumbria. People do think I’m a bit mad, as it can be a little cold to say the least. But you should try everything once."


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