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Elevate Your Fitness with These Sports Activities

12

Can participating in a favorite sport several days a week help individuals trying to get fit or maintain a certain level of health?

Elevate Your Fitness with These Sports Activities

Sports For Fitness

Spending hours in the gym can sometimes feel like a chore, especially for individuals who prefer competitive or recreational sports over traditional cardiovascular and resistance training. Various sports activities require only time, energy, sufficient apparel, and the willingness to play. Here are a few sports for fitness that can help improve overall health and wellness.

Cycling and Mountain Biking

Cycling is one of the best sports for fitness. Whether on roads or trails, fast or slow, it is a fantastic aerobic workout and benefits the leg muscles, specifically the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Research has shown that, especially for those with diabetes, cycling can lower the risk of premature mortality. (Mathias Ried-Larsen et al., 2021)

  • There are appropriate bikes for all ages and stages.
  • Beginners start with paved trails.
  • Intermediate to advanced levels can engage in road cycling and mountain biking.
  • Road or mountain bike races for individuals looking to compete.

Racket Sports

Racket sports players range from all ages and fitness levels, entry-level to highly competitive, and all provide intense workouts.

  • Racket sports target the muscles in the back, shoulders, arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core.
  • Racquet sports have also been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. (Pekka Oja et al., 2017)
  • Combine that with the endurance, speed, balance, and agility required to compete, and individuals will quickly see how these two sports can give a phenomenal workout while also burning a ton of calories.

Golf

For golf to be a fitness sport, individuals must walk all the holes while carrying or pushing the clubs.

  • What is needed is a supportive pair of shoes.
  • Walking the course can have multiple health benefits, including cardiovascular and respiratory health. (A. D. Murray et al., 2017)
  • Golf is a sport individuals can participate in at any life stage.

Water Sports

Paddleboarding, rowing, kayaking, and canoeing can provide a fitness solution for individuals who enjoy the outdoors. These sports increase heart rate, increase muscular endurance and strength, and burn serious calories. (Thomas Ian Gee et al., 2016)

Swimming

Activities that require upper and lower body muscles to work together rank high in sports for fitness. Swimming is the perfect full-body workout for anyone looking for an intense and competitive outlet that requires strength and endurance.

  • It is a sport or activity that is gentle on the joints. (Grace H. Lo et al., 2020)
  • Swimming can be a year-round sport with various levels of competition.

Triathlon Training

Triathlon training is for lifelong athletes looking to improve endurance and strength and exercise beginners who need a goal; it is the ultimate sport for fitness.

  • Running, biking, and swimming together challenges every muscle and significantly increases aerobic and anaerobic fitness. (Naroa Etxebarria et al., 2019)
  • There’s something for every fitness level, from short sprint competitions to full Ironman events.

Basketball and Volleyball

Basketball and volleyball offer the physical benefits of a hard workout. These sports require sprinting, pivoting, and jumping, which engages the cardiovascular system and strengthens every muscle. Playing volleyball in the sand makes the muscles work harder.

  • Both sports are appropriate for most levels of fitness.
  • Beginners are recommended to learn the basic skills and go through drills before moving to games or matches.
  • Both sports require constant movement, increasing the risk of injury, so it is important to learn the fundamentals.

Talk to a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise routine or adding a new activity to an exercise regimen.


Lumbar Sports Injuries


References

Ried-Larsen, M., Rasmussen, M. G., Blond, K., Overvad, T. F., Overvad, K., Steindorf, K., Katzke, V., Andersen, J. L. M., Petersen, K. E. N., Aune, D., Tsilidis, K. K., Heath, A. K., Papier, K., Panico, S., Masala, G., Pala, V., Weiderpass, E., Freisling, H., Bergmann, M. M., Verschuren, W. M. M., … Grøntved, A. (2021). Association of Cycling With All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality Among Persons With Diabetes: The European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study. JAMA internal medicine, 181(9), 1196–1205. doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.3836

Oja, P., Kelly, P., Pedisic, Z., Titze, S., Bauman, A., Foster, C., Hamer, M., Hillsdon, M., & Stamatakis, E. (2017). Associations of specific types of sports and exercise with all-cause and cardiovascular-disease mortality: a cohort study of 80 306 British adults. British journal of sports medicine, 51(10), 812–817. doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2016-096822

Murray, A. D., Daines, L., Archibald, D., Hawkes, R. A., Schiphorst, C., Kelly, P., Grant, L., & Mutrie, N. (2017). The relationships between golf and health: a scoping review. British journal of sports medicine, 51(1), 12–19. doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2016-096625

Ian Gee, T., Caplan, N., Christian Gibbon, K., Howatson, G., & Grant Thompson, K. (2016). Investigating the Effects of Typical Rowing Strength Training Practices on Strength and Power Development and 2,000 m Rowing Performance. Journal of human kinetics, 50, 167–177. doi.org/10.1515/hukin-2015-0153

Lo, G. H., Ikpeama, U. E., Driban, J. B., Kriska, A. M., McAlindon, T. E., Petersen, N. J., Storti, K. L., Eaton, C. B., Hochberg, M. C., Jackson, R. D., Kwoh, C. K., Nevitt, M. C., & Suarez-Almazor, M. E. (2020). Evidence that Swimming May Be Protective of Knee Osteoarthritis: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. PM & R : the journal of injury, function, and rehabilitation, 12(6), 529–537. doi.org/10.1002/pmrj.12267

Etxebarria, N., Mujika, I., & Pyne, D. B. (2019). Training and Competition Readiness in Triathlon. Sports (Basel, Switzerland), 7(5), 101. doi.org/10.3390/sports7050101

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The information herein on "Elevate Your Fitness with These Sports Activities" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

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