Five outdoor sports to take up this fall
With the COVID-10 pandemic still very much impacting our day-to-day lives, it is vital to keep outside and keep active both for physical and mental health. But, let’s face it, stuff can get a bit tired after a while. To that end, we’ve come up with a list of five fun and fit-focussed fall sports and activities to try out before the snow flies.
This crazy game sprung up this summer as a way for volleyball lovers to get in a little socially distanced fun. It’s played in groups of four and is similar to the popular beach game Spikeball, only it involves, well, a table or board of some sort and a larger volleyball. Teams of two compete by spiking the volleyball onto the table so that it bounces up and out of the reach of the other team. Teams have three touches, just like volleyball, before having to connect with the table allowing teams to practice digs, setting and spikes. The game sprung up this summer in Toronto, and some budding entrepreneurs quickly capitalized on the crazy and are now selling a bonafide Boardball set. But, it seems as though any short-legged and solid table will work.
The ski season is just around the corner, and for those who cannot wait to strap on the slats, there is roller skiing. This activity, although a solid training option for years, is finally making its way into the mainstream for both cross-country skiers and non-skiers alike. Imagine, a cross between inline skates and cross-country skis. There is speed, there is a groovy vibe and there is a killer workout. Find a solid and very long trail or stretch of quiet road and get your ski on. Roller skiing does require a fair amount of gear. Luckily, skate skiers can use the same boots and poles, although the poles require special tips to use on dry land. One could do classic or skate roller skiing, although most tent to begin with the skate variety. Wear a helmet!
Looking for a great core workout, and a way to test your balancing mettle? Slacklines are popping up in local parks in greater number than in past years. This activity, which is essentially rigging up a line between two trees and trying to walk across while maintaining balance, can be done solo but is also a perfect pastime for a leisurely afternoon hang with a couple of friends. Kits can easily be purchased and it takes just a few minutes to set it up. Recently, we tried out a Zen Monkey slacklining kit and it was pretty much perfect. It even has a guideline for newbies.
Frolf, or frisbee golf or disc golf has never been more popular. After COVID-19 hit, ultimate frisbee players pivoted to disc golf in droves, adding to an already burgeoning sport. Basics are that disc golf is very similar to traditional golf. A disc is used to tee off and manoeuvre down a fairway to the chain mesh net that serves as the cup. New leagues and tournaments are popping up across the country as people are beginning to realize that it is hard to beat a fun day whizzing a disc through the woods at your leisure in an environment that is absolutely simple to social distance. Want a workout? Walk faster. Bike to the course. Take advantage of the outdoor fitness equipment also available in many urban parks. And the cost of entry is next to nothing. Discs can be found at most outdoor sports stores.
Obviously, not all fresh, new sports take place in cute urban parks. Some require something a bit more rugged and demanding. For them, there is peak bagging. Similar to another popular activity fastpacking, peak bagging is simply the pursuit of a collection of summits by experienced hikers/ultrarunners/mountaineers. It’s all the rage right now as ultra runners and other outdoor endurance athletes look for new goals until the return of the races. Peak bagging offers that sense of hitting goals and completing tasks instead of just running loops for hours on end. Although it does not inherently require specialized gear beyond what one would bring into the mountains, it does favour anything ultralight — packs, bags, tents, poles etc.
Lead photo by Tuomas Härkönen.