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Originally published Friday, May 30, 2014 at 11:14 AM

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A(nother) year of the fit life; lessons learned and enjoyed

But looking back on a second year of testing fitness limits in various ways, the ones that stand out the most involve Nicole Tsong getting really scared, terrified even, then doing it anyway.


Special to The Seattle Times

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I’M THE opposite of an adrenaline junkie. I like my fitness challenging and, ideally, not scary. When people propose column ideas like hang gliding, I vehemently shake my head no and slowly back away.

But looking back on a second year of testing fitness limits in various ways, the ones that stand out the most involve me getting really scared, terrified even, then doing it anyway. Life lesson? Damn straight.

The prize for the class Most Likely to Freak You or Me Out is a tie between a ropes course at Adventura in Woodinville and a trapeze lesson at Emerald City Trapeze Arts. Both places strap you securely in with harnesses, so there’s no real risk. The good thing about trapeze is you jump from just 24 feet, versus 50 feet of vertical on the ropes course — at least there’s no jumping. The bad news at the trapeze place is that the staff doesn’t give you any option except to jump. At the ropes course, you can talk yourself into or out of any obstacles out there; I recommend you don’t look down.

Both experiences made my heart race and my palms sweat. Would I go back to either? Absolutely.

As for the classes I considered the Most Fun Ever, it’s another tie between square dancing and a Recess class. Slamming against other sweaty people while being swung around may not sound like your idea of a good time but, trust me, square dancing at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard really is. As for the Recess class at Rival Fitness on Capitol Hill, if your idea of fun is childhood games like “Red Light, Green Light” made tougher with squats and lunges, plus the possibility of getting pegged in the arm during dodgeball, this class is made for you.

The award for Most Surprising Class goes to Aqua Fit. I wrote it off before I got there, much to my regret. I was schooled by the regulars, who looked like they were having a much easier time than I was. When I consider what else to add to my fitness regimen, swimming and/or water aerobics is now at the top of the list. Oh, add pickleball to the roster of sports where I was schooled by people twice my age.

I had fun in pretty much every class I took. I loved learning to hula, even if I had trouble keeping up. I also adored hula hooping, and still admire all who can skillfully move a hoop up and down their body.

I felt awkward learning to breakdance at the Massive Monkees Studio: The Beacon, and I still think about going back to work on the moves. I wish there was a Melt class closer to me so I could add more gentle massage using soft foam rollers and other techniques; it was as relaxing as the name.

More than anything, I love seeing the wide variety of ways people stay fit. We have an incredible number of choices around here, and it inspires me to see people having a blast staying active. If you haven’t found one you love, my advice is to keep trying. Your perfect fitness match is out there.

Nicole Tsong teaches yoga at studios around Seattle. Read her blog at papercraneyoga.com. Email: papercraneyoga@gmail.com. Benjamin Benschneider is a Pacific NW magazine staff photographer.



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