Try this: Alternative ways to get fit in Beijing

Stay active without ever stepping foot in a gym

Photo: Heyrobics
Want to get fit but hate the gym? We hear you. Whether it's pole dancing, outdoor yoga or rock climbing, there are plenty of ways to get fit in Beijing that don't involve pounding the treadmill. Here are some of the best.
Stretch it out with Yoga in the Park

Stretch it out with Yoga in the Park

Entering into its sixth year, Yoga in the Park is a weekly class that brings the Beijing community together for a morning of yoga in the middle of nature. Relax and exercise with friends and family, kids included, and then head to Moka Bros afterwards for a healthy lunch where participants also receive 15 percent off. Classes are led by the team of teachers at Taozi Tree Yoga. For more information, click here

Price 50RMB.
Time 9.30-11am every Sun (until Oct).
Address Chaoyang Park, 1 Nongzhan Nan Lu, Chaoyang district.

Photo: Moka Bros

Get into the swing of things at Modernista

Get into the swing of things at Modernista

Every Wednesday night, Modernista hosts a crash course to Balboa, a swing dance that originated in Southern California during the 1920s and '30s. Come alone or in a couple and enjoy a 40-minute beginners' class that will teach you the fundamentals of Balboa right before the social dance starts. No prior dance experience or advance sign-up is required. For more information, click here.

Price 30RMB per person; 50RMB per couple. 
Time 9-9.40pm every Wed.
Address Modernista44 Baochao Hutong, Dongcheng district (158 1093 7206).

Photo: Modernista

Cycle the countryside with Serk

Cycle the countryside with Serk

Every weekend, this group of cycle nuts hops in a van and heads for the Beijing hills, where it hosts rides through mountain roads and lush countryside. Cyclists of all levels are welcome; the group will even provide a bike if you don't have one. Rides typically leave from central Beijing at 7am, weather and AQI permitting. Serk also organises guided cycling tours through Tibet, Xinjiang, Kyrgyzstan and more for those wanting to get out of the city and cycle through stunning scenery. Contact Serk for more information on weekend rides via WeChat (ID: serkadmin) and check out their site to sign up for their cycling adventures through China.

Price 100RMB (one-ride pass); 500RMB (one-ride pass plus transport); 750RMB (first-ride trial plus bike rental). 
Time Check-in is generally at 6.30am every weekend (Mar-Nov).
Address Contact Serk for the meeting point.

Photo: Serk

Learn the ropes at O'le Climbing

Learn the ropes at O'le Climbing

Just east of Shuangjing in Baiziwan, O'le Climbing's centre is the longest-running rock climbing centre in the country with some of the biggest facilities to boot. O'le hosts events and clubs, including the China National Climbing Team's practice sessions, while visitors can try their hand at standard climbing or bouldering. Entrance is priced at a reasonable 65RMB (pay an additional 15RMB for shoe rental) with lessons in Chinese or English available for the uninitiated. Private English-speaking classes start from 240RMB while group classes are 200RMB. Visit their site for more information. 

Price 65RMB (one-day pass); 500RMB (ten-session pass); 670RMB (monthly card). 
Time Open 10am-10pm, Mon-Sat; 10am-8pm, Sun. 
Address O'le Climbing, 5 Shimencun Lu, Baiziwan Qiao Dong, Dongsihuan Zhong Lu, Chaoyang district (6776 4705).

Photo: O'le Climbing

Try pole dancing at Skyline Dance Lab

Try pole dancing at Skyline Dance Lab

No longer exclusively identified as an activity belonging in shady strip clubs, pole dancing is now widely recognised as a great way to get fit, and it's no wonder why. An all-encompassing, full-body workout combining cardio with core and resistance training, a session on the pole tests your endurance to breaking point and ultimately leaves muscles you never knew you had trembling. It's also genuinely fun. Skyline Dance Lab offers a huge variety of classes for all levels of ability, with a tight-knit, supportive community providing a place for people to bring their individual passions for dancing, fitness and healthy living. They also have a special trial discount, where you can get your first class for 69RMB or a combination of three classes for 175RMB. For more information, contact Skyline on WeChat (ID: skylinedance1, for questions; ID: Skyline-Dance, for bookings). 

Price 220RMB (single class); 1,465RMB (ten classes); 680RMB (unlimited seven-day pass).
Time Various class times available. 
Address Skyline Dance Lab, Third Floor, Building 5, Sanlitun SOHO, 8 Gongti Bei Lu, Chaoyang district (5785 3550). 

Photo: Skyline Dance Club

Say hey to aerobics with Heyrobics

Say hey to aerobics with Heyrobics

Founded in 2010, Heyrobics is one of Beijing's first, and biggest, international sports communities. Their fun, fast-paced and music-based workouts are like a step class dialled up to 11, but without the steps. Sessions are often held on rooftops, parks and public spaces across Beijing, weather permitting. They also have at least one free workout per week, so keep an eye on their weekly schedule. For more information, visit their website or follow them on WeChat (ID: Heyrobics).

Price 50RMB (one session); 500RMB (12 sessions).
Time Various class times available. 
Address Various locations across Beijing.

Photo: Heyrobics

Team up with Beijing's best sports clubs

Sports teams and athletic clubs are a great way to get fit – and social – all while avoiding the drudgery of the gym. Beijing's also rife with options, so we've rounded up just a few of the best that offer Anglophones and their friends the chance to do something sporty. Find your sport, get in touch and then head to the seeming one-and-only drinking spot for all teams, ever: Paddy's.

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By: Annabelle Lim

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