Has 30 minutes on a treadmill become a chore? The daily downward dog become a snore? Using a FitBit  performance tracker, we recently tested out a series of alternative workouts to add a bit of variation to our regular workout routine: Bocce, Shuffleboard & Archery.  We tracked steps taken, calories burned and rated level of fun on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most entertaining.

Bocce: 3 out of 5 stars on the fun scale

alternative facts 1Modern Bocce is a combination of skee-ball, bowling &. Shuffleboard. Per the United States Bocce Federation, the game first appeared in ancient Egypt as early as 5000 B.C., traveling across the Mediterranean to Greece around 800 B.C. Bocce, has evolved from a noble pastime to the third most played sport in the world. We recently rolled a few rounds at Union Hall in Brooklyn, NY.

The objective of the game is to score points by rolling or tossing ones balls down the court, strategically aiming for the pallino or marker ball. The winner of the set or “in” team is the one who’s balls landed closest to the pallino. Games are played usually to 13 points. Good players work defensively & offensively, aiming to knock the opposition’s balls out of play.

We played three rounds at Union Hall, taking a total of 347 steps and burned a total of 40 calories. This game is perfect for friendly banter and giggles in between plays and definitely brought out the competitive nature of the participants.

Shuffleboard: 4 out of 5 stars on the fun scale

Shuffleboard was a natural follow-up to Bocce. Though its origins are somewhat murky, according to the USA National Shuffleboard Association, there are records of King Henry VII

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losing a match to Lord William in 1532. We visited the Royal Palms in Brooklyn, NY to give it a go. Though culturally, Shuffleboard has historically been associated with elderly

participants, the crowd at Royal Palms skewed significantly younger, appearing to be in their mid- to late- twenties.

Requiring at least two players, the objective of the game is to score points using cues to push discs, or biscuits, down a court into a marked scoring area, worth 10, 8 or 7 points, without landing in the penalty box, worth -10 points. Like in Bocce, skilled players are always aiming to knock their opponents biscuits out of the scoring area.

We played three rounds, taking a total of 331 steps and burning 44 calories. Royal Palms upped the ante on the social aspects of Shuffleboard play, offering a full bar, food trucks and live music. The lively banter and laughter between rounds was ever-present and it’s a wonderful activity to share between friends.

Archery: 3 out of 5 stars on the fun scale

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We ended the day at Gotham Archery in Brooklyn, NY. Dating back to around 10,000 B.C., archery has historically been associated with hunting or combat. It is an Olympic sport, which recently had a cultural resurgence with popularity of the Hunger Games movies.

Our one hour Introductory Class, complete with bow rental and safety instruction, covered the mechanics of the bow, proper form and finally how to aim and fire at a target. Unlike Bocce or Shuffleboard, archery proved meditative, emphasizing stillness and steadiness. Somewhat counter-intuitively, to properly shoot an arrow at a target requires a moment of relaxation before the release.

We took a total of 110 steps and burned 33 calories. This was the only activity of the day that left us sore, as firing a bow triggers muscles not typically used in other activities. We rate this a 3 out of 5 on the fun scale for the sheer novelty & challenging nature of the experience.

Though Bocce, Shuffleboard and Archery don’t necessarily offer a high-intensity workout, they do offer a delightful departure from an everyday workout. Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is stepping away from a screen and tackling new experiences with friends. Get out there and try something outside your comfort zone today. Your body will thank you!


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Rakia Seaborn

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