SUP (stand-up paddleboarding)
Stand-up paddleboarding has taken the world by storm. For the uninitiated: SUP is a perfect combination of surfing and canoeing, with the paddleboarder standing on a longbord and propelling themselves forward with, yes, paddles. It’s great for balance, core strength and having fun – and some people even do yoga atop the board. In Amsterdam, you can combine the sport with seeing the city from a new perspective, as you paddle through Amsterdam’s famous canals. Rent a board, take a lesson and or take part in a tour of the canals at the SUP Center Amsterdam (located by the Amsterdamse Bos, so paddling with a more rural feel is also possible), or, if you want to be closer to the sport’s maritime roots, check out M&M SUP at Blijburg beach.
Photo: Janus van den Eijnden - Capture Amsterdam
If you were a bit of a wild child back in the day, running around and climbing trees almost more than being on the ground, freerunning (aka parkour) might be right up your street. Literally – in theory, the sport can be done anywhere urban, as it involves finding the most creative way to move through the city, conquering any obstacles by running, climbing and jumping. A popular spot in Amsterdam is underneath the Utrechtsebrug. However, it’s always good to have a safe space to practice, and Amsterdam has just the thing: the biggest outdoor free-running and parkour track in the Netherlands is located on the banks of the Sloterplas, a lake in Amsterdam’s Nieuw West district. The track is made up of elements specifically suitable for free running, such as rods, bars, blocks, walls and surfaces, with a shock-absorbent surface extending across the entire length of the track. What’s even better is that it incorporates an old set of our very own I amsterdam letters, so even if you’re not braving the traffic while freerunning, you’re still connected to the city. Upcycling at its best.
Westerpark, Diemerpark, Rembrandtpark, Erasmuspark: almost every Amsterdam park has outdoor fitness equipment, great to use in combination with a run or just so. A particularly nice trail can be found on the Van Heenvlietlaan in Buitenveldert. If you’re unsure how to use the machines, scan the attached QR code for instructions. Fun fact: the soft ground is made from recycled sneakers.
Rowing and canoeing
Traditional watersports such as rowing are big in Amsterdam, it being a, well, watery town. One of the numerous rowing clubs in Amsterdam is the Roeicentrum Amsterdam, right by the River Amstel. The club offers classes, private lessons and tours. And if you’ve become a pro, you might one day take part in one of the races on the famous Bosbaan in the Amsterdamse Bos. If you prefer to start small, the latter is also the setting for plenty of canoeing, for example at Kanoverhuur Amsterdamse Bos.
Yoga in the park
Yoga studios are generally prettier and more peaceful than your average echo-y, sweaty gym – but still, the sport only really comes into its own when practiced under the open skies. Hear the birds sing, smell the freshly-cut grass and meditate away. Many studios hold outdoor yoga sessions: Yoga Square (website in Dutch) organise intimate sessions for a maximum of three people in Westerpark and Parc Studio hold Yin Yang classes in beautiful Sarphatipark.
Ultimate frisbee is the most played frisbee variety and one of the fastest growing and most intensive team sports in general, having large numbers of near fanatic devotees in Oceania and North America. Points are scored by throwing the frisbee to a team member in the ‘end zone’. Amsterdam is getting in on the fun, with more and more ultimate frisbee fans in town and Crunch in Oost as the sport’s main club in town. Of course, you can also read up on the rules online, grab a frisbee from a toy shop and head to the nearest park with a bunch of friends.
Jeu de boules
The traditional French game has recently been enjoying a revival. Amsterdam has many lovely spots for enjoying a game, such as JBC de Meteoor in Noord, the Petanque Club Museumplein, Les Bohémiens de Pétanque in Osdorp (all websites in Dutch) and the recently opened piste on Gershwinplein in the Zuidas district. Accompanying glass of red wine and Gitanes optional.
As an Amsterdammer, you probably already do it every day. But why not extend your daily commute to a longer tour on a sunny weekend day? Amsterdam and surroundings have plenty of lovely bike routes on offer. Take De Rondehoep (website in Dutch), east of the River Amstel: the 17-kilometre-long route between Ouderkerk and Uithoorn passes through farmland and along waterways. Or go from Amsterdam Zuid to Ouderkerk on a similarly idyllic trek. Don’t forget to pack a picnic or plan a stop at a traditional café or restaurant!
If you’re serious about getting (or staying) fit, a bootcamp might be right up your street. If you’ve been to an Amsterdam park, you will have witnessed one of the hardcore classes inspired by US army training methods.Boostcamp Amsterdam (website in Dutch) is one of the many organisations in town offering bootcamp classes, with options for private groups and personal training. If you’re more of a lone-warrior type, you can take a trip to the bootcamp parcours by the former ING headquarters on Jachthavenweg.
Whether it’s skateboarding, longboarding or inline skating that’s your thing, Amsterdam has more places, parks and routes for it than you can shake a stick at. The Amsterdamse Bos, Nesciobrug and Rembrandtpark are all great for skating, plus there’s several skatepark, such as the Cons Project in Noord (website in Dutch) or the Marnix Bowl on Marnixstraat 44 in Amsterdam West. Inline skaters can also revel in team spirit at the Friday Night Skate, a weekly group skate (weather permitting) along changing routes through the city. And in 2017, the Netherlands’ biggest skate park will open on Zeeburgereiland. Better start practising!