Sport is an excellent way to keep your entire body fit, and your mind healthy, too. Gym routines aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, whereas pursuits like surfing, cycling, jogging, tennis or football can make you forget you’re even working out.
Whether you’re competing against opponents or alone against the elements of the sport itself, you have a goal beyond getting your heart rate up or counting reps. Plus, you’re out in the fresh air interacting with other people, boosting your mental well-being.
But sports, especially the contact or high-impact varieties, can come at a cost. Running, squash, rugby and myriad others might get our heart, lungs and muscles thoroughly fit, but they can be hard on bones, joints, ligaments and tendons, especially as we age.
To avoid the effects of painful exercise injuries, both now and in years to come, you could consider switching your fitness regimen to one of these sports. They’re all perfect ways to keep your whole body in shape without unnecessary jarring or tearing.
Swimming works out your heart, lungs and all the muscles in your body, from core to extremities, while being as low-impact as you can get. If you live somewhere warm near the beach, you can combine it with surfing or boardsailing for variety, but it is just as accessible in indoor and outdoor pools.
Swimming laps lends itself to meditation, calming your breathing and quietening your mind.
Rowing and kayaking are both low-stress sport that exercise your whole body while getting you out of doors with like-minded water lovers. If that’s not an option, you can turn your rowing machine into a somewhat outdoorsy experience with a Virtual Reality headset.
A simple one-hour walk per day is a start on the road to fitness for many people who are trying to be less sedentary. Walking has a lower impact on the body than jogging, running or racquet sports, while promoting cardiovascular and pulmonary health.
It gets you out and about, interacting with your community too. If you want to enhance core and upper body strength, exercise with light hand-held weights as you walk and then reward yourself afterwards with some down time and play Aussie pokies games online.
Several doctors and orthopaedic surgeons have lauded yoga’s ability to improve both flexibility and core strength, although they stress it’s a pursuit that needs to be approached under properly qualified instruction.
Apart from improving fitness, flexibility and overall bodily strength, yoga makes you conscious of your breathing and your heart rate. It is also conducive to meditative mind health.
5. Rock Climbing
Slow, controlled movements, deep regular breathing, core strength and flexible limbs are all required for rock climbing. It’s another way to get out into nature, alone or in groups, and once again, it has indoor options that can be social or competitive.
At the same time, with the exception of occasional cramped fingertips or a scraped knee, it doesn’t rattle the bones or strain the ligaments. Unless a climb goes horribly wrong, of course; which is why this is another full-body-fitness sport best embraced under expert supervision.