By Amanda Wilks
Sometimes it's hard not to feel fed up with exercise routines that feel like one-trick ponies.
Working on a single part of your physique may result in more obvious gains in your muscle group of choice, but the rest of your body won't gain the same benefit from all of your hard work. Try switching up your routine by incorporating routines that work out your entire body in the vein of an engaging sport like swimming, mountain biking, running and countless more.
Jumping into a full-body exercising sport increases cardiovascular health and improves your physique while also offering an opportunity to grow social bonds and engage with others around you in fun group activities. Your brain just might reap extra rewards, as it turns out! Here are five popular choices to give you an idea of where to start.
Nothing quite works out your body like zipping around a tennis court while taking wild swings and lunging after near-foul shots.
In fact, playing singles tennis for an hour could burn anywhere from 420 to 600 calories which puts it squarely in the company of a full gym workout routine on a minute per minute basis, but without spending precious time fiddling with weights and adjusting fitness machines.
Curiously, those who play singles sports are less likely to be obese than those playing team sports, too.
2. Mountain Biking
Biking is one of a choice few sports that has more benefits than are immediately obvious. You'll work on your physique, that much is a given, but you'll also find benefits in the realm of improved coordination and bone health which are fantastic perks outside of your active sport sessions, too.
Chances are you'll have an easier time with a bike than you might while running due to the simple fact that biking is a lower impact sport that doesn't put as much stress on the joints, which makes it extra appealing for those getting on in life.
Jumping into a biking hobby might feel prohibitive cost-wise yet remains surprisingly affordable for nearly any income bracket. For absolute beginners, all you really need is something to ride, a helmet to keep your head safe, comfortable clothes for your riding season of choice and a water bottle to keep you hydrated while out and about.
There are many mountain bikes under 500 dollars that offer affordability and reliability without requiring thousands of dollars of investment in a new sport.
It may be harder to sneak in a swim year-round, but it's certainly worth trying. Swimming is one of those rare exercises that allows the benefits of a full-body workout without putting nearly as much stress on one's body as other sports due to its unique setting.
Staying in the water doesn't hurt your calorie burning potential either, chipping away nearly 200 calories per half hour even if you're just going for gentle laps around the pool. Add in its stress-relieving qualities and going for a dip is a very attractive sport to try, given how important exercise can be in reducing stress and depression.
If you're interested in improving your spatial awareness, coordination, cooperation and discipline while also burning calories, basketball might be just the sport for you.
As a complex team sport it involves a fair amount of on-the-fly judgments and snap-second decisions about how you will act and what course of action you intend to take over the short and long term during competitive play, boosting mental faculties and problem solving skills effectively.
While other team sports might have long stretches of downtime, basketball keeps a steady pace and rarely has you out of the action for very long. This long-burn focus on staying mobile without completely running out of energy means you'll be working long and hard on your cardio.
You might make a few new friends along the way as well, which is never a bad thing. Exercising with a group has unique benefits and motivational components that could help you if you've fallen out of other sports in the past.
While it might seem like the kind of sport only available a week out of the year for most, skiing is also one of the most intense forms of exercise you can undertake while still qualifying as a sport.
You could burn as many as one thousand calories per hour in the most intense scenarios, which is roughly half of one's daily suggested caloric intake for individuals of lower weight, making it both impressive and mildly daunting at the same time.
For those who ski more casually, it's still often an all-day event that involves body awareness and thorough joint strengthening even when not participating in a grueling marathon. It may be worth a look if you have access to a slope and a healthy respect for frigid temperatures.
No matter if you prefer mountain biking or a round on the tennis court, getting involved in an athletic activity is a solid way to get your exercise in without having it feel quite so much like work.
You may still end up sore at the end of the day, but you'll also have plenty of fun along the way to inspire you to try again in a few days' time.
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