If you want to be your fittest, healthiest, best self, then there are worse things you could do than get yourself a gym membership and find a workout routine that works your whole body. But let’s be real for a moment: this isn’t always the most exciting option in the world — if you’re going to dedicate the time needed to get your body in shape, then there needs to be an element of fun involved. As such, one of the best ways to improve fitness is to take up a sport. But what are the best sports to do when it comes to fitness? We take a look at a few options below.
In the Water
There’s much to love about swimming. It wakes you up like nothing else, is low-intensity, and is awesome for overall fitness. It works a lot of muscles that ordinarily wouldn’t see much action, and is all-around awesome for toning muscles, keeping your heart and lungs healthy, and keeping your weight down. Don’t be disheartened if you get tired after a lap or two — keep at it, and as you improve you’ll see your body become more and more sculpted.
Shredding on the slopes can get a lot of fun, but it isn’t all that good for your fitness. We mean, it’s not bad, and it’s better than nothing of course, but it’s not the most effective exercise out there. One of the best is actually the brother of alpine skiing: cross-country skiing. It can be hard work trekking through ungroomed snow — in the process, you’ll be giving your body a pretty intense workout! And not for nothing. There are also mental health benefits to this activity too, since most trails run through pristine woods, and spending time in nature is awesome for your overall health.
Up and Down
Running is a great activity for getting yourself in shape, but it’s better if there’s an added challenge thrown in, rather than just, say, running around a park. A fell runner, for example, would get much more from one hour of running than a regular street runner would get in the same amount of time. That’s because you’ll be running uphill and downhill, which uses a broader variety of muscles, and as such this makes it more intensive than regular horizontal running.
On the Court
The problem with some individual, self-starter sports is that, because there is nothing at stake, people just give up when they feel a little bit tired. If you’re running on say, a treadmill, and get tired, then you can just hit the stop button and get off. If you lack the discipline needed to power through, then you need a sport where you’re actively competing against someone else. Tennis is a good activity for this, but the best is probably squash. You’ll be running near non-stop, on a hot court, and using your body to stoop low and reach high. The first session will have you panting for breath, but by week three or four you’ll feel yourself getting stronger and stronger.
Tour de Force
If you want to see an example of how difficult sport can be, watch the Tour de France. Those cyclists are serious athletes! While it’s not recommended to hit the mountain roads on your bike until you’re experienced, you can get a taste of what it’ll be like by getting out into the British countryside on a road bike. You’ll work up quite a sweat no matter what terrain you’re covering, but to push yourself, look at going uphill in areas. You won’t know just how relieved you can be until you finally see that things are moving downhill after a big climb.
But what do you do if the above activities don’t interest you, or, for whatever reason, you’re unable to participate in them? In that case, it’s a good idea just to find an activity that you love, and do that. It’s much better to spend three hours a week playing football than it is to spend an hour every two weeks doing another sport that’s ‘better for your health’. Nearly any activity that gets the heart rate up and sweat dripping is going to have a positive impact on your life!
As we’ve shown above, there are plenty of fun and awesome ways to get your body in shape. So if you’re not feeling your gym membership anymore, cut the cord and improve your fitness in other ways.