It's easy for a workout routine to fall by the wayside when travelling. Fitness fanatic and world traveller Sheree Millington has rounded up eight of the most unusual fitness classes around the world to help you experience a destination while moving your body and working up a sweat. From energetic morning raves to downright doggy yoga, you’ll be amazed at the ingenuity of these unique workouts.

Young woman in a mermaid costume swimming underwater in a pool
Mermaids need serious core strength to manoeuvre those tails © microgen / Getty Images

Mermaid Fitness, Miami

Who doesn’t dream of being a mermaid? Well, dream no more. This unique aquatic fitness class in Miami combines the flexibility of yoga, the core-tightening abilities of pilates and the fluidity of dance… all while wearing a shimmering mermaid’s tail. Of course, Mermaid Fitness is an absolutely picture-perfect Instagram moment to share while on your travels (think of the grid), but it’s also a genuinely great workout that’ll challenge your muscle strength.

A large crowd of people dressed for a rave smiling and cheering at the camera during a Morning Gloryville event in London
Rave, eat, sleep, repeat with Morning Gloryvillle © Jason Purple / Morning Gloryville

Morning Gloryville, London

London is truly a 24-hour city, where you can party from dusk ‘til dawn. But, have you ever considered starting the party at dawn? More and more people are choosing to start their day partying with Morning Gloryville, the original morning rave. The immersive dance party is booze-free and promotes conscious world clubbing. Dancing their hearts out to some world-class DJs (Fatboy Slim has played here), morning ravers go all-out with outfits and glitter. Kicking off at 7:30 during the winter months, you’ll be finished in time for one of London’s famous afternoon teas. What a way to begin the day!

A woman with several hula hoops in motion on her arms, legs and body. She is smiling into the camera with water and a cityscape behind her.
Hula hooping is fun, and a great way to beat jet lag © Ray Leve / Marawa the Amazing

Hula hooping with the Majorettes, Worldwide

Founded by Guinness World Record holder Marawa The Amazing, who skates in heels and can do things you wouldn’t believe with a hula hoop (seriously, check this woman out on YouTube), the Majorettes are the coolest hula troupe in the world. With pop-up classes happening in the UK, USA and around Asia, a class with these ladies will have you hooping like a pro and working up a real sweat.

A woman works her way along a tightrope hung between trees in Bali. She is attached to the lines with a harness.
Unleash your inner Tarzan at Bali Tree Top © Bali Tree Top

Tree top climbing, Bali

Bali is full of beautiful places to swim and hike… but why not take it up a notch,  high up in the lush, tropical tree tops? At Bali Tree Top there are 72 challenges including suspended bridges, spider nets, Tarzan jumps and flying swings. You’ll find something for all abilities, and this will certainly get anyone’s heart rate and adrenaline going.

A man kicks a punchbag in an outdoor gym. The floor is chequered blue and red tiles.
More intense than unusual, Ao-koei Beach is one of the best places to train in Muay Thai © Ao-Koei Beach

Muay Thai camp, Thailand

This ancient martial art is practiced all over Thailand and the globe, so it isn't particularly unusual, but the Ao-Koei Beach camp in Phang-nga is definitely one of the most intense exercise experiences you can have while travelling. Learn Muay Thai from true masters and native Thai trainers in a hand-made camp on a wild beach and really get put through your paces. You’ll be fully immersed in the practice, discover new fighting skills and be on your way to becoming a lean, mean fighting machine in no time. 

Aqua spin class, Mumbai

Seek refuge from the hustle and bustle of the streets of Mumbai, India, with this totally unique underwater fitness class. AquaStrength offer a range of pool-based classes, but our pick is the aqua spin. That’s right, a bike in a pool. The water adds extra resistance to work your legs to the limit (while the pool ensures you don’t sweat buckets like in a normal a spin class). 

A healthy woman playing with a corgi puppy while excersing on yoga mat surrounding with gym tools such as kettlebell and dumbbell, outdoor training with dog
Downward dog with a pooch for company in New York City © Tatomm / Getty Images

Dog yoga, New York City

Namaste meets man’s best friend for a totally unforgettable fitness class. We all know the benefits of yoga: flexibility, calorie burning, gaining a sense of inner calm. Dogayoga in New York City has topped that with the addition of furry, calming friends. Bring your own dog or get partnered up with a new pooch and give a whole new meaning to downward dog. 

Face Gym, London & Hollywood

If reading this far has left you exhausted at the mere thought of all these sweaty pursuits, this ‘workout’ is the one for you. This isn’t strictly an exercise class, nor will you break a sweat. You could, however, look several years younger and totally refresh yourself if you’re feeling weary after all your travels. Face Gym is the world’s first workout for your face. Forget relaxing facials, the ‘instructors’ here will knead, work, massage and pummel your facial muscles into submission. This leads to a sculpted visage and glowing skin, sign us up.  

You might also like: 
Pack your gym shorts: 9 unique sports to try on your travels in 2020  
Sober travel: how to have a great night out in Europe’s top cities without alcohol
Tokyo 2020: a guide to travelling to the Summer Olympic Games

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This article was first published November 2019 and updated January 2020

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