There’s always a benefit to starting, or adding to, your fitness regime. Even if you’re regularly working out at the gym, you have the rest of your days to lead a healthy life.
From functional training, to preventing health risks, to making sure you don’t get bored with your routine, there are plenty of good reasons to get started with a new sport now.
Summertime offers extra opportunities to learn or advance your skills outdoors for even more wellness benefits. Here we’ve listed five sporting activities that are perfect for people of just about any experience and fitness level, from true beginners to those who are serious about mastery or competing.
Best of all, with each of these sports, you can develop a lifelong practice that can help you stay fit for many years to come.
- Tennis – No matter what your age, if you know how to play tennis you’ve learned an activity that can keep cardiovascular and muscular systems in shape through your golden years. Tennis is also a strategic game, which is great for your brain.
As you become skilled at tennis, you can actually play at a more moderate or gentle pace if you want. Watch a good game of recreational tennis and you’ll see it’s about placement of the ball even more than power
- Swimming – Not only is swimming an amazing form of exercise, it’s a low-impact workout, which protects your joints form injury and wear. Start swimming now, and you can continue this sport for a lifetime. In fact, the United States Masters Swimming organization has a 100 – 104 year old age category for their swim competitions!
Train seriously and you’ll be able to progress to an incredible fat-burning, strength-building regime—the water doesn’t only offer support, it offers resistance. Take it a little slower for an enjoyable exercise program or fun activity you can share with family and friends of all ages, especially in the heat of summer.
- Hiking – If you’re thinking hiking isn’t really an athletic activity, think again—or just ask any foot soldier or mountaineer! Of course, if you’re new to fitness or it’s your first time hitting the trails, hiking offers you the chance to start at a modified pace and intensity.
Hiking offers more variety built-in to your workout experience than many other activities, owing to the outdoor environment and the terrain you cover. The seasons and the weather provide changes in landscape as well as different challenges to your hikes. You can get started this summer finding trails that suit your fitness level, and push you to new heights.
- Bicycling – From the grueling Tour de France kind of workouts, to simply pedaling around town to run your errands, a bicycling habit is a good choice for just about everyone. Like hiking, riding a bike provides you with a lot of variety by nature, in nature.
Bicycling is so versatile. If you have joint issues, it’s an alternative to running. If you’re just starting out with fitness, you can create a long term program that starts out gentle on your body. If you’re super-fit, maybe you’d like to train for the biking leg of a triathlon.
- Paddle Boarding – We’ve already covered a much more traditional water sport in swimming, and now we take that in a new direction: upright. Stand-up paddle boarding provides you with some of the same benefits of swimming and hiking but adds in a powerful core workout. And a lot of fun!
Depending on your location (and the condition of the water you’re paddling in), you can achieve a beginner-level gentle workout with a paddle board, or a very intense challenge. Some shorelines feature specialty fitness classes using stand up paddle boards, too.