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Sports for Fitness: The 8 Best Sports for Improving Your Physical Fitness

Sports for Fitness: The 8 Best Sports for Improving Your Physical Fitness

The Top 8 Sports for Fitness: Your Full Guide to The Best Sports To Improve Fitness

While some people thrive in the structured environment of a gym, not everyone feels like they are cut out for the gym grind.

Read our ultimate guide to choosing the right sports for fitness - including everything you need to know to stay happy and healthy.

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Cycling can help to improve your fitness

You may not want to go to the gym because you’re struggling with gymtimidation - or because you prefer to work out in groups and find your passion for fitness in the realm of sports.

Traditional cardio and resistance training workouts may feel a bit blunt, so many prefer practising a sport instead of hitting the gym.

And there’s nothing wrong with that! Gym or sports, as long as you’re engaged, you will feel better for exercising - and your body will thank you for it.

Sports provide an excellent cardiovascular workout and add an element of fun and competition to your fitness journey - and they are a great way to get some exercise back into your life.

But which sports are actually best for fitness? And which ones should be on your list? In this article, we'll help you learn just that – including tips, tricks and stats about the best sports for fitness.

Join us as we explore the top 8 sports to transform your body and keep you in the best shape of your life.

1. Swimming

  • Swimming is great for an all-body workout

  • This sport is low-impact so it’s gentle on your joints

  • Improve your heart health and cardio fitness with a swim in the pool

As an activity, swimming requires your upper and lower body muscles to work together, which makes it ideal as a fitness replacement.

In general, sports that require this type of engagement are ideal for fitness as they provide a full-body workout. They are also ideal for anyone looking for an intense and competitive outlet that requires both strength and endurance

Swimming as an activity offers a holistic full-body workout. Its low-impact nature makes it gentle on the joints, suitable for individuals of all fitness levels.

This sport contributes significantly to heart health, improving cardiovascular fitness and promoting efficient heart function. Additionally, swimming aids in weight management by burning calories while enhancing lung capacity and breathing ability.

Beyond these benefits, swimming is a fantastic way to build lean muscle throughout the body, from arms and shoulders to legs and core.

What makes it even more appealing is its year-round availability, thanks to indoor pools, and the opportunity for various levels of competition.

Whether you're a beginner or an aspiring competitor, swimming offers a fun and effective path to fitness, making it a versatile and accessible choice for those seeking a healthier lifestyle.

So next time you don’t want to hit the gym, look for the nearby pool - trust us!

2. Tennis

  • You can burn 600 calories in just one hour with a game of tennis

  • Tennis targets muscles across your body

  • This sport can also help you work on your balance and hand-eye coordination

Tennis isn't just a game - it's a powerhouse of fitness benefits waiting to be unlocked.

Imagine burning 600 calories in just one hour. With tennis, you’ll do just that. This puts the sport in the same league as jogging or cycling for an amazing aerobic workout.

But tennis isn't just about steady-state cardio; it's a dynamic sport that combines explosive movements with brief recovery periods.

When you step onto the tennis court, you engage in a series of quick sprints, powerful serves and precise slams that challenge your strength and stamina.

These actions not only help you burn calories but also work wonders for your agility, balance and hand-eye coordination.

The physical demands of tennis are comprehensive - and it’s the perfect sport for a full-body workout.

Tennis targets various muscles, including:

  • Back

  • Shoulders

  • Arms

  • Chest

  • Quads

  • Glutes

  • Hamstrings

Additionally, constant movement on the court engages your core muscles, enhancing your overall stability.

Tennis isn't just about fitness; it brings another component to the table, too. It's a social activity that allows you to stay in shape while having fun with friends.

Moreover, the sport's competitive nature means you'll continually push your limits, improving your endurance, speed and agility.

So, grab a racket, hit the court, and experience the fitness benefits of tennis firsthand – it's a winning game for your health and well-being.

3. Squash

  • Squash can help you burn calories fast due to its high intesity

  • It’s a comprehensive workout that enhances flexibility, strength and power

  • A game of squash is fun but competitive

Did you know that squash was named the healthiest sport on the planet by Forbes? No wonder it’s in all the movies.

Squash is a fitness powerhouse waiting to be explored. This indoor sport might be underrated by some, but its benefits are nothing short of remarkable.

First and foremost, it can help you burn lots of calories and shed those extra pounds while increasing your aerobic fitness.

Second, squash is a comprehensive workout that enhances flexibility, strength and power, helping you with your overall fitness.

When you step onto the squash court, get ready for an adrenaline-fueled game. Squash matches are intense, demanding not only energy but also stamina and strength.

Long rallies require you to push your limits, which is a fantastic way to build your endurance and cardiovascular fitness.

Your body will undergo a transformation as you start to play squash regularly. You'll tone your legs, arms, shoulders and back, sculpting your physique into a lean, mean fitness machine.

This sport is also an excellent way to improve hand-eye coordination, a skill that can benefit you in various aspects of life.

Squash is very versatile. Whether you're looking for an intense, competitive workout or a more relaxed solo game, squash can accommodate your fitness goals.

It's time to take your fitness workouts to the next level, so grab a racket, and let’s hit the court!

4. Cross-Country Skiing

  • This sport offers a full-body workout

  • You can burn up to 1122 calories per hour

  • This is a low-impact sport, making it suitable for people of all ages and levels

When it comes to a fitness adventure that combines breathtaking scenery with an incredible workout, cross-country skiing takes the lead.

This winter sport isn't just about gliding gracefully over snowy landscapes; it's a calorie-burning dynamo that offers a full-body workout like no other. This classifies it as a great fitness activity.

The calorie burn during cross-country skiing is nothing short of impressive, making it one of the most effective forms of exercise.

For those who seek the thrill of vigorous mountaineering, you can burn up to 1122 calories per hour. That's some serious calorie-crunching power!

But cross-country skiing isn't just about calorie burn; it's a full-body workout that engages muscles you might not even know you had. Your arms, legs and core all come into play as you push and glide through the snow.

This unique combination of muscle engagement results in skiers being about 40% fitter than physically fit individuals, showcasing the unparalleled effectiveness of this sport.

Cross-country skiing is also a low-impact activity, which means it puts minimal stress on your joints. This makes it an inclusive option for people of all levels and ages, especially those looking to stay active during the winter months.

So, whether you're a snow enthusiast or a fitness fanatic seeking an effective workout, cross-country skiing is a great choice.

5. Mixed Martial Arts

  • MMA can help you develop flexibility, strength, speed and endurance

  • You can burn around 590 calories per session

  • MMA is suitable for beginners or seasoned professionals

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a dynamic fusion of various martial disciplines like karate, judo, kickboxing and taekwondo. But it’s not just a sport, it's a holistic fitness journey that encompasses everything your body and mind need for optimal health.

In MMA, you'll experience the perfect blend of flexibility, movement, strength, speed, power and endurance.

A one-hour session can incinerate around 590 calories for a 130 lb. person, making it a great calorie-burning activity that helps you shed excess weight while sculpting your physique.

But MMA goes way beyond physical fitness; it's a mental challenge, too. It demands unwavering perseverance and determination, pushing you to your limits even when you feel exhausted.

The mental strength you gain in MMA spills over into other areas of life, fostering resilience and discipline.

One remarkable feature of MMA is its accessibility. You don't need fancy equipment or expensive gear; all you need is your body and the will to train. Whether you're an MMA beginner or an experienced athlete, MMA can be tailored to your fitness level.

Moreover, MMA isn't just about what you see in the UFC; it's a transformational experience. It reshapes your perspective, not only on yourself but on the world around you.

It fosters a deeper connection between your body, mind and spirit, enhancing your overall well-being.

And let's not forget the aesthetic perks – MMA practitioners often boast some of the most muscular and naturally toned bodies, a testament to the comprehensive workout this sport provides.

If you're seeking an intense, full-body fitness regimen that challenges you physically and mentally, MMA is your gateway to self-improvement and a healthier, stronger you.

6. Basketball / Volleyball

  • These sports are fun and competitive

  • Basketball fosters confidence and reduces stress

  • You can burn around 600 calories in an hour of competitive basketball

Basketball and volleyball are fantastic sports that not only offer an incredible workout but also let your competitive spirit shine.

These games are all about dynamic movements – sprints, pivots, jumps and slams – that give your cardiovascular system a workout while engaging every muscle in your body. And if you're spiking a volleyball in the sand, your muscles get an extra challenge, too.

Basketball, for instance, is not just about getting tired; it's about improving your overall health in multiple ways. It boosts spatial awareness, sharpens decision-making skills, reduces stress, enhances coordination and fosters confidence.

A 165-pound person can torch around 600 calories in an hour of competitive basketball, and a 250-pound individual can even burn up to 900 calories.

While these sports are accessible to most levels, beginners should start with skills and drills classes to build a strong foundation.

Both games involve a lot of movement, so injury risks are higher, especially for newcomers. But the rewards are worth it – basketball players often boast some of the fittest bodies in the sports world.

Plus, it's not just about the body; basketball and volleyball teach teamwork and boost confidence, promoting emotional well-being.

So, whether you're aiming to break a sweat, enhance your skills or simply have fun, these sports offer a winning combination of fitness and fun that can transform your physical and mental well-being.

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Read more on our basketball blog

7. Gymnastics

  • There are various kinds of gymnastics, including rhythmic and acrobatic

  • Gymnastics can help you enhance your flexibility

  • Build muscle mass and improve your fitness with gymnastics

Gymnastics, derived from the Greek word "gymnazein" meaning "to exercise naked,” has evolved into a sport that delivers exceptional fitness and holistic well-being. Gymnastics is a popular sport for children - but there are many benefits of gymnastics for adults, too.

Today, gymnastics encompasses various disciplines, including:

One of the standout benefits of gymnastics is its remarkable efficiency in enhancing flexibility and building muscle mass.

Engaging in gymnastics effectively tones key muscle groups, including the arms, abs, back, buttocks and legs, sculpting your physique and boosting strength.

What makes gymnastics even more appealing is its adaptability; you can practice it solo, follow online classes at home or attend physical classes. For beginners, professional guidance is advisable to ensure a safe and effective start.

Gymnastics is not just a physical endeavour; it's a mental challenge that sharpens focus and concentration. Each gymnastic routine demands precise execution, engaging both body and mind.

It fosters independent thinking, sparks creativity and hones problem-solving skills in a controlled environment.

The sport's rigorous strength-training routines have even influenced CrossFit and bodybuilding, emphasising its intensity. If you're up for the challenge, gymnastics offers an outstanding workout.

At-home options, combined with equipment like gymnastics barrels or inflatable gymnastics wedges, can expedite progress. Gymnastics enhances overall fitness, strength, balance and body control, which rightfully earns it a spot on our list of the best sports to meet your fitness goals.

8. Cycling

  • You can burn around 580 calories per hour when you go for a cycle at 10mph

  • Cycling is a full-body workout that’s great for your cardio

  • Mountain cycling is a fun way to enjoy this sport

Whether you're cruising on roads or blazing trails, cycling is a powerhouse for your fitness that offers a multitude of benefits.

First and foremost, cycling delivers an exceptional aerobic workout that gets your heart pumping and your lungs working overtime.

But it's not just about cardio; your leg muscles, particularly the quads, glutes and hamstrings, are in for a serious workout. Each pedal stroke powers your legs, leaving them with a satisfying burn.

At a moderate speed of 10mph, you can burn about 580 calories per hour, and if you pedal faster, you can incinerate around 1200 calories in an hour.

Mountain biking offers an even more advanced challenge for those seeking an adrenaline rush.

What's more, research reveals that cycling can be a life-changer, especially for individuals with conditions like diabetes. It's been shown to lower the risk of premature mortality, promoting your fitness and longevity.

One remarkable aspect of cycling is its low-impact nature. It allows you to burn serious calories while being gentle on your joints, making it accessible to people of all fitness levels.

The benefits go way beyond the physical – cycling has the power to make you happier and boost brain function, too.

Intermediate and advanced cyclists can dive into road cycling and mountain biking adventures, while beginners can start on paved trails. For those with a competitive spirit, there's a world of road and mountain bike races to explore, many of which support charitable causes.

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