I loathe the gym. The idea of going into a building, working up a sweat on a treadmill or track, and then proceeding to pretend to understand how to use numerous weight machines until it no longer looks pathetic to leave simply does not appeal to me. Not only do I tend to feel inferior surrounded by people who obviously know what they are doing, I also simply get bored. In a gym nothing changes. There is no new scenery or atmosphere, the four walls look the same from all angles and the smell of sweat is never far away. Being active is important to me, but I began to find myself making all kinds of excuses to skip the gym. The only logical course of action was to find something new, exciting even to replace my mundane gym crawl.
When I was introduced to slacklining, I was understandably skeptical that this would be anything less than an embarrassing form of torture. I was wrong, kind of. At first, trying to balance on a 1-inch wide piece of webbing was intimidating and a bit embarrassing to be completely honest. It took me a month before I could take my first step. Once I got it though I realized that I was getting a full body core workout. Taking just a few steps on the line caused muscles I didn’t know existed to ache and I found a new appreciation for balance. After three months of trying, failing, and trying some more, I invested in my own slackline (put together at REI) and began practicing on my own time. This new form of exercise integrated itself into my fitness regimen.
There are endless forms of fitness that can be done with a slackline. Yoga poses are something new that I have been focusing on recently. The balance and core strength required to pose on a slackline is enormous and not easily obtained. But nothing worth doing is ever easy and I bask in the new challenges the line gives me each time I step up. Another fun trick I learned is that you can use the line as an assist with a stability ball. Try placing your hands on the line as if you were preparing to do a push-up and then put your feet on a stability ball. Pull your knees to your chest five times and then go down into push up, repeat a few times. Your abs, legs, and arms will be on fire but it is one of my favorite work-out routines.
Next time you want to get out and try something new, get some friends together and set up your own line. I guarantee you will get a great work out and share some laughs with your friends as you all bond over the art that is slacklining.