We all know how important it is to try and stay healthy, by eating well and keeping active. But, in today’s busy world, making time to go for a run or hit the gym every day can be unachievable for many of us and also not a great deal of fun. However, if you’re participating in a sport that you really enjoy, you’re probably more likely to stick to it. We’ll explore the benefits of exercise and take a look at the top sports to keep you fit.
The following sports also provide more social opportunities, especially if you like being part of a team, and also open doors for greater family involvement.
The benefits of exercise
According to the NHS, exercise has many benefits, including lowering the chances of illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. Regular exercise can also improve mental health and act as a mood booster, reducing depression ad stress.
To reap these benefits, you should aim to be active every day, which means doing an activity that increases your heart rate to a moderate, or intense, level. But it is also important to vary the type of exercise, so while you may decide to take up one or more of the following sports to keep you fit, there may be days in between when going for a walk, a spot of gardening, or some serious spring cleaning meet the exercise criteria.
Top sports to keep you fit
Whether you prefer the local pool or wild swimming in the sea, this is an excellent way to stay active and burn calories. There’s no need to round up a team and you can set a pace and number of lengths to suit you.
The health benefits of cold water swimming are well documented, although many will prefer a heated pool. And it is never too late to learn to swim with many local leisure centres offering adult swim classes.
Whilst you can hit the treadmill at the gym, running outdoors is free and can be done just about anywhere. Not only that, being outdoors will ensure you are getting plenty of fresh air and vitamin D, not to mention the many beautiful areas in the UK you can explore while running.
Parkruns are a great starting point with free, fun, weekly community events around the world. You can join these whatever your ability, even if you start off by walking. Check out the website to find an event in the local park or green space near you.
If you’re serious about running but have been inactive for many years, check out the NHS Couch to 5k plan designed for complete beginners. Once you start to build momentum, you could even register for a 5 or 10K or even build up to a marathon to keep you motivated and raise some money for your favourite charity along the way.
Slightly easier on the joints than running, cycling offers similar benefits. Enjoy the freedom of the outdoors and increase your fitness levels at the same time with this popular activity.
Bikeability is the government’s national cycle training programme with lots of options for cycle training for kids, adults and families.
The ultimate in team sports, football offers a high-intensity workout and can be played in various settings from parks to football fields and even indoor gym facilities.
Forming a football team with family and friends is a great way to keep motivated, especially now that so many girls are now interested in playing the sport after the great successes of our women’s football teams.
If you love football but you are over 50 and feel it would be too exhausting for you, why not try walking football which has clubs and teams across the UK.
Spark your enthusiasm and interest further by choosing a football shirt of your favourite team or player online.
Whilst you might not have participated in this sport since school, there’s no reason why you can join, or start, a netball team in your local area. It’s an ideal way to keep active and be part of a team, whether you’re playing just for fun or at a more professional level.
Whatever sport you choose, make sure it’s one you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to continue. Team sports can offer some much-needed motivation but if your hectic schedule leaves you craving some me-time, then an individual activity might be more suited to you.
Whatever your choice, choose wisely. Sports such as bowling, for example, might be fun and widen your social circle, but it could never be considered an ideal sport to keep you fit.