Fresh, funky & fast

Fresh, funky & fast

Just because you're not on a team, that's no reason not to get fit this year

Next Sunday marks the 16th Standard Chartered Hong Kong marathon. A total of 70,000 people have signed up to compete in the 10km, half (21km) and full (42km) races. Marathons have become many people's get-fit plan of choice in recent years, with many teens competing, too.

But if running long distances - or running at all - isn't your thing, don't worry: there are plenty of other hip ways to get your heart pumping in the year of the dragon.


Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art which is said to have developed by slaves in 16th-century Brazil. The slaves would try to escape, but they could not match the Portuguese colonists' weapons or knowledge of the land. They started to work on a method of survival for if and when they did manage to escape.

Modern capoeira is usually less of a battle, and more a dance-like practice of the skills required. The most common moves include cartwheels and kicks, all set against a driving rhythmic background of drums and traditional instruments.

Check it out on YouTube, and visit for details of classes in Hong Kong.


Alberto "Beto" Perez probably never imagined a simple mistake would start a global phenomenon. Heading out to teach a class, the dance instructor realised he'd left his cassette tape at home. He grabbed a random one from his car, improvised what he taught in class, and created Zumba, a Latin dance-inspired fitness programme.

The exercise quickly spread from Colombia to America, and now fitness-seekers from Sydney to Stockholm are shaking it like Shakira - not to mention in Hong Kong. Check out California Fitness (, Flex Studios ( and Central Dance Studios ( and see if there's a class to suit your schedule.

Rock climbing

If your New Year revolution is to conquer the Himalayas, why not start with the basics? To prepare for the mission near-impossible, you'll want some basic climbing techniques. Just Climb in Prince Edward ( / 3561 7868), Boulderland in Kwai Fong ( and YMCA King's Park Centenary Centre in Yau Ma Tei ( /2782 6682) will all be offering rock climbing courses for beginners next month.

Ultimate Frisbee

Forget what you think you know about frisbee. It's not just about throwing and catching. Ultimate Frisbee, aka Ultimate, requires you to run back and forth on a field and score like a NFL player. According to figures published by CNBC, the sport, which was developed by high school students in 1968, was already played by 4.9 millions Americans in 2008.

Hong Kong now has a tiny league of two teams, Junk and Black Rain, but no doubt we'll catch up soon. Players from Hong Kong Ultimate Players Association will be show off their skills in Ap Lei Chau Park on Feb 5. For more details, visit

Ice hockey

If you want to feel what it's like to move the speed of light - but can't drive a Ferrari, let alone afford one - what you need is a pair of inline skates. You may think ice hockey belongs only to snow-buried countries like Canada and Russia. But thanks to modern technology, you can play in shopping malls in Hong Kong.

Before you start scoring goals, you have to know how to skate. You can enrol in lessons (check out the little shop which usually sits next to every skating rink's entrance), or teach yourself with a copy of Ice Skating for Dummies and a lot of practice.

Once you're comfortable moving around the ice, check out the Hong Kong Ice Hockey Association ( or Hong Kong Academy of Ice Hockey ( for ice hockey course details.

Whether you take up a new sport this year, or continue to improve your skills in an old favourite, may your 2012 be super-fit.

Super-cheap (or free!) ways to keep fit:

- Tai Chi with grandparents

- Hike while it's still cold out

- Walk a dog

- Cycle

- Dance like nobody's watching



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