Sports are a major part of modern life and following professional sports is one of the most popular pastimes. Every day, millions of people watch their favorite events, players and teams, journalists and analysts write about it and sportsbooks offer betting markets to enthusiastic sports fans.
But sports are about more than being a spectator or wagering. Watching professional athletes at the peak of their fitness can encourage us to try to be more physically active ourselves, even if we can’t reach the level of expertise displayed by our heroes! At a time when inactivity is leading to major health problems in our nations, it is a good idea for all of us to consider taking up a sport.
So, if you want to try out a new sport, for fitness or fun, which are the best options? Here are 10 of the healthiest sports that combine low injury risk with positive health benefits.
The sport of squash has long been regarded as one of the healthiest sports available. For those who can master the basics, squash combines a number of positive health factors including greater aerobic fitness, a boost to strength and power, improved hand-eye coordination and calorie burning. If you have the opportunity, this is one sport that is definitely worth trying.
The traditional cycling season runs from May through the summer, when there are hundreds of competitions and races held all over the world, from local amateur events right up to the major Tours. However, you can get into this fantastic sport without a desire to win the Tour de France! Cycling lessons are enjoyable and offered everywhere. Cycling not only improves your mood and strengthens your brain, but it is a low-impact way to burn a significant amount of calories.
Swimming is a fantastic cardiovascular exercise. It’s a low-stress activity as well. Along with burning calories, it maintains healthy body weight, enhances lung function and builds muscle. The best part about swimming is that you can do it at any time of year at your local pool, so you don’t need to venture into rivers or try sea-swimming, both of which can be dangerous for beginners.
Tennis is right up there with jogging and cycling as one of the top cardio exercises available, burning 600 calories in an hour on average. Tennis requires you to exert energy in brief yet forceful spurts via all the small sprints, pivots, slams and serves that the sport involves. As with squash, once you master the basics, this is a sport that can provide many hours of entertainment while boosting your health significantly.
The full extent of health benefits associated with rowing is impressive. Rowing can be a great way to achieve weight loss and increase muscle strength and has a relatively low risk of injury for the newcomer. One of the great advantages of rowing is that you don’t need to have access to the full equipment. There are rowing machines to suit all ages and abilities, enabling you to gain all the health benefits of this amazing sport in your own home.
Basketball is not only a physically demanding sport to play, but it also has numerous positive health benefits. There has been plenty of research into the physical benefits of basketball, which has been found to boost spatial awareness, encourage decision-making skills, lower stress, build coordination and has beneficial effects on confidence. An hour of competitive basketball can burn somewhere between 600 and 900 calories, depending on your size and the intensity of the play.
Gymnasts need to be supple, powerful and in excellent physical condition. Every time a gymnast enters the gym, they are challenged to use every ounce of their mental and physical resources to prevail, and the sport also offers a boost to concentration and mental clarity. If you have no gymnastics experience, it is important to start off slowly, but for those who are able to get into this sport, it has huge benefits.
Running is not just a sport for young people; those who run frequently have a lower risk of losing bone and muscle mass as they age than those who do not run frequently or at all. This is because bones respond to physical challenges by growing and becoming stronger. Additionally, running has been found to be beneficial to physical and mental wellness in general. Endorphins are released as a result of this form of exercise, creating the well-known “runner’s high”.