Image By: Greg Westfall

Sweating off the holiday pounds in the gym is only one way to keep your New Years resolutions, but why not exercise in the open air instead? Here are seven unusual and sometimes extreme challenges to help keep you honest this coming year.
1. Train for the “Pond and Peak” Challenge

For a real challenge, complete the “Pond and Peak” challenge by swimming the English Channel and summitting Everest. With only four people on record as having completed both, this is a surefire way to get into peak condition, albeit a pretty dangerous one.

Image By: Zach Dischner

2. Climb some rocks

When women in a study voted rock climbing the sexiest sport, it confirmed what rock climbers already knew: climbing builds great bodies. Rock climbing has even become a possible contender to join the Olympics as a new event.

Already climb? Check out our tips to becoming a better rock climber to take it to the next level.

3. Cycle through the winter

Road cycling through the winter months might appear a little crazy or even foolhardy at first, but with the right gear, cycling through the winter months creates a great way to stay motivated and reduce spring saddle soreness.

4. Run a marathon

Training for a marathon requires strategic planning and continuous organization. By setting a New Years Resolution to complete a running compeition with a specific date–be it a 5K or 10K for beginners or a marathon for experts–you are more likely to achieve their fitness goals in the New Year. Combining the marathon with a trip might inspire additional motiviation, especially these 7 scenic marathon routes.

Upping your runs, like attempting 52 marathons in 52 weeks, or overtraining can also lead to running injuries. Since accidents happen, it’s helpful to know which stretches heal and which exacerbate injuries.

5. Pick up geocaching

With some time and a handheld GPS unit, geocaching is an easy hobby to pick up. Geocaching.com lists a variety of treasure-hunting locations with a variety of levels of mental and physical challenge. Many geocaches require long hikes to get to, and some contain small tokens for finders to collect.

6. Master the art of ice skating

After building an ice rink in your backyard, learn to skate like a pro. As a resident of Austin, Texas, where it’s hovered in the low 80s this week, skating is a little difficult for me. But other places like the northern half of the US and Britain have plenty of freezing temperatures for skaters to play around.

7. Master an unusual sport

If the above actitivities are not quite adventurous enough, consider toe wrestling or camel racing. With so many unusual sports around the world there’s bound to be something that catches your interest. Maybe it’s time to introduce your neighbors to cheese rolling or fire jumping?

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