Arizona Goat Yoga
Photo by Arizona Goat Yoga

Whether you got on board the “health and fitness” New Year’s resolution bandwagon or want to change up your current fitness routine, you won’t lack for options in Phoenix.

From basic gyms and yoga to more unique options like competitive MMA fighting, the fun dance-like Zumba, actual dance classes, and — just for exercise, of course — pole-dancing classes, you can find a workout in the Valley that suits you.

Do those sound too mainstream for you? We found some quirkier and even more novel fitness approaches you should check out.

Goat Yoga

Yoga actually provides a much tougher workout than you might think from just looking at it, but, thanks to its low-impact nature, anyone can do it. Also, you can find variations for any skill level or goal, whether you want simple relaxing stretches, extreme body positions or to commune with goats.

Yes, we said goats.

April Gould and Sarah Williams are two serious Gilbert-based fitness gurus — they occasionally appear on “American Ninja Warrior” who realized that Arizonans don’t get many options for outdoor exercise during the winter. So, they combined Willams’ experience with yoga and Gould’s herd of trained goats to create Arizona Goat Yoga.

Basically, it functions as an outdoor yoga session. However, as you work out friendly goats walk by you, and sometimes over you, to provide extra stress release. Call it yoga meets pet therapy.

People who try it swear by it. Plus, you get a commemorative photo of your Goat Yoga session from a professional photographer. You can post it on social media to make your friends jealous.

Click here to learn more about Arizona Goat Yoga.

Aerial Arts

Vertical Fix Aerial Artists
Photo by Vertical Fix

Do you ever watch a Cirque de Soliel show or see a trapeze act and think, “I wish I could do those aerial acrobatics”? You can, with some work and persistence.

A Tempe company called Vertical Fix specializes in teaching aerial work. It offers classes in all manner of equipment and skills, including silk, rope, trapeze, lyra, catch & release and aerial dance choreography.

You can start as a complete beginner or get help polishing more advance skills. Who knows, you could end up as a performer some day either here in the Valley or nationally.

Even if you’re just in it for fun, the activity requires strength, flexibility and stamina, so it makes for a great workout. Plus, you can make your friends’ jaws drop.

Click here to learn more about Vertical Fix.

Quidditch

Quidditch
Photo by US Quidditch

Forget football, soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, rugby or any other sport you know. In the “Harry Potter” universe everything revolves around quidditch.

You might think that because quidditch requires magical flying brooms and an intelligent, winged golden ball it would be impossible for regular humans (aka muggles) to play. If so, you seriously underestimate human ingenuity and imagination.

The real world version of quidditch started out as a bunch of fans running around with brooms, but in the last 10 years turned into an actual sport with various leagues, a championship and a world cup — although the players still ride brooms, or at least broom handles.

As a combination of rugby, dodge ball, tag and various other game elements, it makes for a great — if sometimes rough — workout. It also lets you pretend you live in the “Harry Potter” universe, if that appeals to you.

The Valley hosts multiple teams, including a Major League Quidditch team called Phoenix Sol. Also, you will find ASU and Sun Devil quidditch, the Arizona Quidditch Club, the Arizona Jackalopes, and The Fighting Farmers of Arizona, all of which fall under the US Quidditch umbrella. Meetup teams, high school teams and kids teams also exist. You can even start your own team for fun or competitive play.

Don’t want to join a team? You might become a referee — also a good workout — or play as the neutral “golden snitch,” which just means you run around the field trying to avoid capture.

Learn how to play quidditch and where to find a local team.

– Justin Ferris, Phoenix.org

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