Unique ways to stay active, indoors and out
Staying active in the summer is a breeze. Warm-weather bike rides, outdoor yoga, hiking, and paddling feel more like adventures than exercise. And waking up for that early-morning fitness class ain’t so hard when it’s 75 degrees out and sunny.
But during the winter – when it’s not even close to 75 degrees and the sun isn’t anywhere to be found in the early morning – we need a little more incentive. Embracing the snow is a solid way to start. Renting cross-country skis or snowshoes for an outdoor jaunt on the trails is a good way to work up a sweat and have a memorable winter adventure that’s worth posting about on Instagram. If you’re more of a “stay inside where the snow and cold can’t reach me” kind of exerciser, there are a host of fun and unique classes around Maine. Slog away on a treadmill no more – this winter, you can stay active with the help of a hula hoop, a jump rope, a paddleboard, and a pair of drumsticks.
FOUR UNIQUE WAYS TO WORK OUT INDOORS
6:15 p.m. Thursdays at Body by John, 190 Riverside Street, Portland
Jumping rope as an adult is way different than it was when we were kids. The equipment hasn’t changed, but our ability to jump effortlessly for hours on end HAS changed. This makes a punk rope class a challenging and sweat-inducing workout, which will have your calves aching for days. But jumping rope to loud tunes (plus all the burpees and high knees and planks in between) still retains that fun we remember years ago, which will keep you coming back. $10 drop-in, $60 for 10-class pass. Body By John also has spin, kettlebell, step and a bunch of other classes. bodybyjohn.com
HULA HOOP FITNESS
9:35 a.m. Tuesdays. Quest Fitness
2 Livewell Drive, Kennebunk
A couple of points we should get out of the way: 1. Yes, hula hooping is exercise. 2. Yes, you can hula hoop, even if you haven’t done it in decades. It might take a few weeks to get the hang of it, but you’ll have a grand time along the way during this class. There is plenty of time spent swinging your hips in the hoop, but the class also includes flexibility and strength, too, so you’ll get cardio and work those muscles. $20 day pass, $139 for 10-visit pass. Quest also has host of other great classes and an indoor saltwater pool! questfitnessmaine.com
INDOOR PADDLEBOARD YOGA
7:40-8:35 p.m. Tuesdays at Riverton Pool, 1600 Forest Ave., Portland
Paddleboards are generally spotted on lakes, rivers and the ocean in warmer months, but this winter, the SUPs are coming inside for this indoor paddleboard yoga class. Yoga instructor Ashely Flowers leads the series, which is open to people who are new to paddleboarding or yoga. The SUPs will challenge your balance and the yoga will awaken your muscles. And if you fall in? No biggie. Just pretend you’re at a summer pool party. $125 Portland residents, $140 non-Portland residents for the series. www.portlandmaine.gov/390/Recreation
10:30 a.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. Saturdays. Maine Pines Racquet & Fitness, 120 Harpswell Road, Brunswick
Pound is a cardio workout with drumsticks. It sounds peculiar at first, but once you start drumming those sticks on the floor and over your head to the rhythm of the loud music, you’ll feel why it’s such a fun workout. The sound of the sticks drumming in unison sounds cool, and it also feels really good to drum those sticks on everything. You’ll get your heart rate up and do lots of floor work too. $15 day pass, $100 for 10-class punch card. Memberships also available. In addition to all the tennis, Maine Pines offers a ton of fitness classes. www.mainepines.com
THREE PLACES TO BE ACTIVE OUTSIDE
BETHEL NORDIC SKI CENTER
Bethel Inn, 21 Broad St., Bethel
You can rent cross-country skis and spend the day skiing the trails at the Bethel Nordic Ski Center (there’s even a dog-friendly loop trail). Or rent a fat bike or snowshoes, if you prefer. The 40 kilometers of trails here are groomed for classic and skate ski and include a mix of open fields with mountain views and woodsy trails with more challenging terrain. Even better, you can take advantage of the inn’s Ski, Swim and Sauna package. For $27, you’ll get access to the trails and the health club (which includes a couple of saunas), plus the outdoor heated pool. There’s also a tavern on site, so ski, swim, sauna, and drink.. Day pass for the trails costs $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, $12 for youth and kids 6 and under are free. bethelinn.com
ROBERTS FARM PRESERVE
64 Roberts Road, Norway
There are 7.5 miles of trails winding through the woods at Roberts Farm Preserve in Norway, which are perfect for cross-country skiers and snowshoers in the winter. And there’s a steady stream of cross-country skiing clinics and snow-related events, including the annual Snowshoe Festival and Nordic biathlons. But what makes the place even more stupendous: You can borrow cross-country skiing and snowshoeing equipment out of the warming hut for free. Yep, free.
180 Ski Slope Road, Farmington
Titcomb is a family-friendly place to ski – downhill or cross-country. The mountain might be small compared to its bigger cousins in Bethel and Carrabassett Valley, but with day passes from $5-$22 and a kid-friendly atmosphere, it’s a cool little community ski area. The 16 kilometers of cross-country trails are pretty sweet, too, and Titcomb happens to be one of the few places in Maine where you can ski at night, under the trail lights. It’s generally pretty quiet out on the trails in the evening, so you can ski for hours and feel like you practically have the place to yourself. A day pass for Nordic skiing is $10. Rentals are also available. www.titcombmountain.com
— Text & Photos: Shannon Bryan. Shannon loves to get active in Maine – from aerial yoga to moonlight paddles — and she writes about them all (to encourage you to try them too!) on FitMaine.com.