5 Urban Alternatives to the Gym



Does beer-drinking count as exercise? Sure it does, as long as you have to work hard to get it!

That's the mindset of the Hash House Harriers, an international running and drinking club with chapters all over the world. Members meet regularly for an activity called hashing, which is basically an adult version of the old children's game, Hare and Hounds. One runner is chosen as the "hare" who is chased down city streets by runners playing the role of the "hounds." Along the way the hare leaves a "scent" (bits of paper or colored flour) for his or her pursuers to follow. The hounds remain in constant contact, using horns or verbal calls like "on-on" to indicate that they're on the right track. Eventually, the hare will lead the hounds to the finish line or "on-in," which, as you may have guessed, is often at a bar or other venue where alcoholic beverages are served. While this sounds more like a party than a workout, participants may run several miles during the course of a hash.

So if you're ready to exercise both your muscles and liver, join a hashing club. With some 2,000 scattered across the globe, you're likely to find one near you; just search Web sites like www.gotothehash.net or www.half-mind.com for links and contact information.