7 Great Sports For Fitness AND Health

7 Great Sports For Fitness AND Health

You might just find a new favorite activity.

Gyms are terrific for cross-training. You can do cardio, weights, anything you want. But what fun is that? And some gyms pipe in “stimulating” music to rev up your G.Q. (That’s “Grouch Quotient” for anyone not into dance music or electronica.)

Of course, as Forbes points out, “one can be healthy without being fit, and vice versa.” So, for peak physical condition, health and fun, here are 7 ideas based on injury risk and calorie burn.

1. Swimming

The biggest benefits of swimming are the cardiovascular health and muscular endurance that it provides in fairly short order. The most effective way to do it: Interval training promotes weight loss and strength. Swim two lengths of the pool as fast as you can (while maintaining proper form), catch your breath, and repeat. Ten laps might just do it, depending on the length of the pool.

2. Cycling

The king of endurance sports, cycling attracts ex-runners who wish to avoid joint injuries yet continue to maintain cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Unfortunately, cycling doesn’t provide for leg flexibility or upper body strength so supplementation is required for a true, full-body workout.

3. Running

Cardiovascular and muscular (lower body) endurance are the biggest benefits of a regular running regiment. Those who run several miles several times per week will experience weight loss and a stabile metabolism. (Cross-training is needed for a full-body workout.). And the injury risk to runners is high with common injuries including stress fractures and shin splints.

4. Rowing

Build strength and endurance throughout your body without potentially dangerous weight-bearing exercises. No boat? Rowing machines provide a full-body workout that builds lean muscles. Rowing is a healthy and time-tested activity.

5. Rock Climbing

Looking for an impressive anaerobic experience with short bursts of energy followed by extended periods of rest? Try rock climbing. The alternation of muscular stretching and contracting builds long, lean muscles that are devoid of the bulk caused by weight-lifting. One downside: It won’t do much for your ticker.

6. Squash

A player can burn more than 1,000 calories an hour motoring around the court. You’ll need flexibility, cardio and muscular endurance. And if you’re playing with a novice, watch out for flying racquets!

7. Basketball

The short bursts of energy required for jumping, fast-breaks, and directional changes provide for anaerobic development. And were that not enough, the continuous movement allows for cardiovascular health. If it weren’t for the risk of injury, it would place significantly higher on this list.

Rick Lawrence/Pazoo

Rick Lawrence

About Rick Lawrence

A lot of athletes refer to themselves in the third person. My favorite example is a quote from baseball Hall-of-Famer Rickey Henderson: “Rickey doesn’t like it when Rickey’s limousine is late.”

Point is, I started to write this in the impersonal third person and it seemed way too pretentious, so first person it is

My name is Rick Lawrence and I love to write.

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