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Monday, June 30, 2014

10 fun ways to break a sweat this summer in Toronto

tough mudder torontoSummer in Toronto is all about getting outside and shaking off the dust of a long, miserable winter. Long walks, leisurely bike rides and idyllic games of Frisbee are all standard summer activities, but in case you want to do something a little more extreme with your long days and sun rays, I've rounded up some of the best active pursuits and activities to hit Toronto this summer.

Here are 10 fun ways to break a sweat this summer in Toronto.

Try an adventure race

The obstacle-race juggernaut rolls on in Toronto, with tons of ultra-intense events designed to test your mettle, endurance and tolerance for mud spread throughout the summer. First up is the Prison Break Run on July 5, which sees you evade "guards" and overcome 15 obstacles. The Tough Mudder goes down August 16 and 17, promising "one of North America's most geographically-challenging courses". Close out a summer of sweat with the Mud Hero 6K on August 23.

Do parkour

Toronto's first parkour gym, the Monkey Vault, opened this past winter, giving the city's aspiring traceurs an opportunity to try out the urban sport in a safe, controlled environment. But now that summer's here, classes are moving out onto the loftlike gym's roof. What better way to transition into swinging from scaffolding in a real-world setting?

Learn to fight at a new gym

A ton of Toronto's newest gyms will whip you into shape while teaching you to throw a solid punch. Box at Big Hit Studios, where you can unleash your frustrations on a rubber dummy, or try out your UFC moves at Primal MMA. If you're looking for a class that prioritizes self-defence, check out Fight Like a Girl at OpenMat MMA.

Check out the new bike park at Sunnyside

Off-road cyclists and wheelie-poppers: Prepare to spend a lot of time near High Park. The city's erecting a bike park in Sunnyside that's set for completion this month, featuring a skills trail, pumptracks, several jump lines, and a large drop and wall ride. Check out some preview photos here.

Play frisbee golf on the Island

All you need for this one is a couple of Frisbees and a ticket for the Island ferry. Along the road between Ward's Ferry and Centre Island, you'll find 18 wire-basket-like metal structures - the "holes" in the course. Start from the designated tee-off point and take turns swinging for the hole, playing your way around Ward's Island. Check out a map of the course. (Whether or not you opt to play the ball where it lies is up to you if it lands in the lake.)

Do a fun run

If you're no longer thrilled by the pure endorphin rush of running, consider running at night with LED headlights at the Night Run, jogging in a grass skirt at Island Girl, racing in a fairy costume at A Midsummer Night's Run, or doing laps around lions at the Oasis Zoo Run. Check out our full list of this summer's running events for more ideas.

Do an outdoor boot camp

Maybe relaxing with a cool drink on a summer Saturday isn't your jam, and you'd rather do sprints with heavy objects while being screamed at by a drill sergeant in fatigues. Check out the O Course, a military-style workout created by Fit Factory and inspired by instructor Tony Austin's actual experience as a U.S. Marine drill instructor. The timed obstacle course race, beloved by adventure race fans, goes down monthly in Monarch Grove park on the Danforth. Over on the west side, a new gym - St. Clair Fitness - is launching a boot camp at Earlscourt Park this month; keep an eye on their site for more info.

Try bike polo at Dufferin Grove Park

Cycling and team sports: A match made in heaven? Bike Polo Toronto takes over the hockey rink at Dufferin Grove Park for intense matches four times a week. If you'd like to be a part of the blur of bike wheels and mallets, Wednesdays at 7pm are open-to-all rookie nights. The league urges you to bring your own bike (they've got the mallets).

Check out a GreenGym

Look again at that playground equipment in the park - you might be standing next to a GreenGym. The Nova Scotia-based company creates and places colourful outdoor workout gear in parks and other public spaces; so far, they've added cheerful ellipticals and weight machines to parks in Scarborough, East York and Etobicoke. Perfect if you hate being indoors, and don't mind picknickers and small children watching you work out.

Do yoga in the PATH

Offices are stressful as it is, and navigating the business-Habitrail maze that is the PATH doesn't help. Good thing, then, that Toronto's favourite underground concourse now has its very own yoga studio. Yoga Be, located in the Metro Centre, has tailored its classes to the surroundings: short Essential classes that run under an hour, "Better Than Coffee" yoga breaks, and Computer Back classes to counteract your totally-not-ergonomic workstation.

Growers Cider Thanks to Growers Cider for sponsoring this post.

For more fun things to do this summer, check out our Toronto Fun Guide .

Photo via Tough Mudder

by Natalia Manzocco via blogTO

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