Vancouver is a city with a distinct culture. People everywhere are health conscious, socially conscious and environmentally conscious. Look outside your window right now. What do you see? No—past the tourists taking pictures of a clock that magically works because of steam power. Use your inner Google map set to satellite view. That is correct. You see people biking, running, hiking, skiing, swimming, climbing, playing volleyball, kayaking, rowing and a large percentage carrying chai lattes with yoga mats.
I swear if aliens were to land in Vancouver after work at 5:30 p.m., they would think we are all in the carpet business. “Hey look Zorfmeister, another one carrying a mat and a small dog…maybe we can start intergalactic trade with this species. Accounting on the mothership tells us our inventory of Sham-wows and George Foreman grills are running a little high this month. We can pawn it to these guys for some of those mats and a pair of those Lululemon shorts.”
Before you feel guilty that you are not doing 12 sports like the rest of your fellow Metro Vancouver residents, I will suggest some great physical activities you can try. Sustainability is all about efficiency, and I know a number of activities that require minimal upstart effort and can kill two or three birds with one stone. But since this is Granville and we don’t talk about killing birds, I’ll rephrase that as shooting a hole through three cans of lentil soup.
Activity Suggestion #1: Kickboxing/martial arts
I have been doing kickboxing and other forms of martial arts for a number of years and I truly believe this is a sport that does wonders. Not only do you get an entire full body workout from doing lots of punching, kicking, sit ups, squats and pushups, you learn a practical method of self defense, strengthen your hand-eye coordination and make a lot of friends through class because it relies heavily on partner work. All you usually need is a pair of gloves and hand wraps.
There are many kickboxing facilities you can go to depending on teaching style and your skill level. Some people worry they may get punched or kicked by doing this sport, but many places make sure you only do sparring if you want to. Plus, you now have a pickup line that goes something like: “I was a lover, not a fighter, but am now both a fighter and a lover. Dinner sometime?”
Activity Suggestion #2: Bikram’s yoga (or other forms of yoga)
I had a friend that encouraged me to try Bikram’s (Hot) yoga recently, and I was a little wary at first because sitting in a giant sauna doing poses for 90 minutes with sweaty people reminded me of sitting in a giant sauna doing poses for 90 minutes with sweaty people. Nevertheless, I have an open mind and decided to try it at least once. It changed my life and my laundry basket. The heat, the awesome workout and the good feeling I got from getting the opportunity to carry a yoga mat like everybody else calmed my “third eye” a lot (probably because sweat got into it). I felt loose, relaxed and happy walking out. Once again, there are studios all over the city. All you need are really tight shorts, a water bottle and a mat.
Activity Suggestion #3: Ultimate (frisbee)
This is truly a popular team sport in Vancouver. It is a great workout doing continuous sprints up and down a grass field. Just keep in mind that this is more like football without the tackling or victory dances. Doing too many victory dances will annoy the other team and you could lose “spirit” points. (Your spirit points tell you whether your team is full of jerks or nice people.)
You do need to learn specific offensive and defensive plays, but once you understand how things work, it is fun! I also found eating a bowl of Frosted Flakes like Tony the Tiger suggested made me catch more frisbees. The best part about Ultimate is the social aspect. I’ve met a lot of great friends and enjoyed some good pub nights after many a game.