Whatever your current level of fitness or general inclination towards physical activities, there is no denying that regular sports activities are a great way to stay fit and healthy. Other than the obvious physical benefits, sports can also be beneficial to your mental wellbeing, as well as a valuable platform for networking and social interaction. If you are not sure what sport is right for you, here is a breakdown of the most popular healthy sporting activities.
If you do not mind getting your hair wet, swimming is the perfect all round sporting activity. It is the only sport that utilizes almost all of your muscles, and is great for strengthening your heart and lungs. A marked advantage of swimming over other high impact sporting activities is that it does not put any significant stress on your bones, connective tissues or joints (unlike jogging, for example). The sport is great for anyone, regardless of their weight or physical condition. Water can also be highly relaxing and beneficial for concentration; a tried and tested stress buster.
If you want to put more emphasis on arm muscles and upper body strength, beach volleyball is the logical choice. It is ideal for maintaining a perfect weight, developing flexibility and strengthening arm muscles. Sand is a perfect surface for those who want to experiment with daring and acrobatic moves without the risk of injury. As a team sport, beach volleyball is a perfect platform for socializing and meeting new people. Add to this being in the fresh air on a beautiful beach, and there is nothing not to like.
Although traditionally a boy’s club, golf is rapidly opening up to the fairer sex, and more and more women are discovering the joys of this scenic sport. Golf provides a unique combination of a healthy walk through beautiful landscapes with a stimulating mental and physical challenge. The average game on an 18 hole course involves five to seven kilometers of walking, which is great endurance exercise for your heart as well as a great way to lose weight and develop muscle tone. The social aspect of golf is not to be overlooked either, as it is a great sport for socializing and staying in touch with friends. Although you will be competing against others, the most satisfying aspect is beating your previous best score. Golf dress codes and some basic game rules can be found here.
Another low impact exercise, cycling will do wonders for your cardio-vascular system and lungs while keeping your weight down and your spirits up. Whatever bike you have, be it a mountain bike, road bike or city bike; be sure to ride it whenever possible. Instead of being stuck in traffic or on the bus, consider your bike as a valid transportation alternative for your everyday activities. Studies show that cycling is the fastest way to get around cities for destinations shorter than 5 miles. Get on your bike and enjoy the sun on your face, the wind in your hair and the freedom of the road.
Of all the sports on this list, tennis is by far the most popular. Tennis and other racquet sports such as squash are a great and intense workout. This is due to the specific, relentless “start-stop” rhythm that ensures constant fluctuations between intense action and rest. For the maximum physical benefits, remember that singles are better than doubles as you cover more ground. You might, however, want to consider another sport if you have problems with ankles or knees as tennis can be quite straining for them.
When it comes to fitness, agility and flexibility: gymnastics reigns supreme. The sport is a unique combination of strength, grace, flexibility and self-discipline. Gymnastics are great for developing motor skills, fine tuning coordination and body awareness as well as boosting self-esteem, confidence and improving posture. Although the benefits of gymnastics are best reaped if you start from a young age, it is never too late to become a recreational gymnast.