Join the club
By Oscar Quine
Bring a salt-flecked touch of the Hawaiian surf to your workout. Over the past decade, Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP), has ridden a wave from the beaches of Honolulu to the brink of global-phenomenon status. Whether it's admiring Brighton's derelict West Pier from wave-level, scooting down the River Thames, or taking in the ruggedness of a Scottish loch, SUP is fast taking root across the UK. And, if you have decent balance, you don't even have to get wet.
Legendary surfers Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama developed the sport on the beaches of America's 50th state. In an example of shockingly slow human evolution, before their first efforts in the early Noughties, apparently no one had ever thought to stand up on a board floating on water and propel themselves forward with an extra-long oar.
Despite this delay, ease of learning is cited as one of the reasons for SUP's success. Paul Hyman, founder of Active360, which has been promoting the sport in the UK since 2011, says people often complete four-mile journeys on their first lesson. "From there, you can learn to race, do long-distance, or white water. There's an easy, low-end learning curve and it's a generic sport: you can take it in any direction."
The sport has plenty of positives to tempt the newcomer. Unlike surfing, you don't need decent waves. "If waves are pretty rubbish, you can still catch one under a metre," Hyman says. There's more of a sense of safety than with kayaking, with which there is the potential to get stuck after capsizing, and other than an initial outlay of £600-£2,500 (depending on which board you choose), costs are minimal.
Your new fitness regime will also offer an excellent excuse to visit exotic locations – the Cornish coast, the ice caps of Greenland and the sun-drenched beaches of eastern India all being locations for Active360 group expeditions. And while you're taking in the surroundings, you're doing your physique a whole lot of good, with SUP being renowned for the magic it works on the core muscles. "You get a whole body workout," says Hyman. "It's like going to the gym for a couple of hours, but not feeling like you are and without getting bored. You come back in a much more relaxed and sociable mood."
Cheapskate's version: Grab an old door and a big stick and get down the canal.
The bicyclist: Get shirty
By Simon Usborne
After a big summer of cycling, which may yet give way to a winter of cake and weight gain, it's a wonder I have not been forced to sell the laptop on which I'm writing, as well as my shoes and a less favoured family member, just to finance the habit the sport can become.
Sure, riding is about escape and joy, but increasingly also ruinously nice gear. I recently met a man whose £15,000 bike had carbon wheels worth £4,000 and weighed a little over five kilos – illegal in pro racing. Lifting it was like picking up a chair in space. Premium Swiss brand Assos meanwhile have launched a pair of bibshorts that costs more than £300. They include a genital pouch inexplicably called a 'KuKu Penthouse'.
Now, nobody needs a penis pocket and, while I find nicer gear enhances my enjoyment of cycling (you notice it less), I'm always pleased to see the cyclist who rejects it all for a tatty team jersey from the 1970s and an old Carradice saddlebag.
Otherwise, even the daily commute can become a trade fair as riders spy upgrades they don't need. I'm a sucker for it all, but thankfully this year have limited my splurging to one item that cost me just £13 (it's too geeky to name). So long live my laptop – and my cousin, Jack (sorry Jack).
Takin' it easy: 'Stand on the right'
By Larry Ryan
I'm going on holiday and in the airport you can be sure I'll be stationary on the travelator. I'm not using my legs when something else can do the walking for me. The same goes for Tube escalators: why stomp down on the left side when you can stick it in neutral and stand on the right? And don't you ever, ever, ever, dare run for a bus. No time saved is as good as takin' it easy feels.
Modern gym rules: Praise
General compliments are fine ("You've lost weight") but never mention specific body parts ("Nice thigh tone!")
Fit kit: Oakley Airwave 1.5 goggles, £520
Clear a path on the piste with goggles that scream 'Get outta my way' by donning the Oakley Airwave 1.5s. With built-in GPS, Bluetooth, maps, playlist control and so much more, you'll be the coolest cyborg-cum-skier in Chamonix.Reuse content