Everyone knows the importance of keeping fit but finding the best sports for your health can be tricky.

Depending on your age, some sports may be less desirable than others.

Playing sport offers a wonderful social experience and a great way to improve both your physical and mental wellbeing.

When thinking about beneficial sports for your health, it is important to factor in the risk of injury.

In that event, you will also need to consider injury management and recovery plans which can be inconvenient, costly and time consuming.

That is why it is important to choose a sport that minimises those risks.

Different sports offer distinctly different health benefits ranging from cardiovascular workouts and strength training to improving flexibility and balance.

Some are or can be largely solo pursuits.

Others are more team-oriented, promoting teamwork and social engagement and the benefits that come with them.

The key is to keep moving!

Here are some of the most beneficial sports you should consider for your health.

Swimming

This is a great activity that improves body tone for people of all ages, burning calories and fat to help with weight loss. Swimmers have a 28 per cent lower chance of dying prematurely.

Its benefits include:

  • Full body workout engaging multiple muscle groups
  • Low impact makes it suitable for people with joint issues or injuries
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and endurance
  • Enhances flexibility and balance
  • Reduces stress and improves mental health

Cycling

Cycling can help protect you from a range of serious diseases including stroke, heart attack and even some cancers. Cyclists lower their chances of dying from an age-related illness by 15 per cent.

Its benefits include:

  • A great cardiovascular workout for both the heart and lungs
  • Builds muscle strength, especially in the legs and core
  • Low impact reducing stress on joints
  • Can be undertaken indoors or outdoors
  • Promotes mental wellbeing by reducing stress and anxiety

Tennis

Tennis offers an excellent cardio workout and can be played well into your senior years against opponents of similar ages. Both tennis and squash players are 47 per cent less likely to die from a premature illness compared with those who don’t play sport.

Its benefits include:

  • High-intensity cardio workout that improves heart health
  • Enhances hand-eye coordination and reflexes
  • Builds muscle strength in arms, legs and core
  • Increases bone density and flexibility
  • Great for mental health through social interaction

Running

Running is fantastic for building bone and muscle strength as well as maintaining a healthy weight.

Its benefits include:

  • Great cardio workout that enhances heart and lung function
  • Builds lower body strength and endurance
  • Can be done almost anywhere with minimal equipment and investment
  • Releases endorphins improving mood and reducing stress
  • Helps with weight management

Basketball

Basketball can be played in advancing years and is great for motor coordination, speed, strength, flexibility, agility and endurance.

Its benefits include:

  • A high-intensity cardio work out beneficial for heart health
  • Builds muscle strength in legs, core and upper body
  • Excellent for agility, coordination and balance
  • A great social sport which encourages teamwork
  • Great for mental health and stress relief

Soccer

Soccer is another great cardiovascular workout, built into a team environment.

Its benefits include:

  • A high-intensity cardio workout beneficial for heart health
  • Builds muscle strength and endurance, especially in the legs and core
  • Enhances coordination, agility and balance
  • Encourages teamwork and social engagement
  • A great stress reliever

Golf

Golf is a great social sport offering mental health benefits, improving sleep and even immune function. It’s even better if you walk the course rather than drive a buggy!

Its benefits include:

  • Improves muscle tone and endurance
  • Social interaction is a great way of relieving stress
  • Helps lose weight and body fat
  • Reduces cardiovascular risk factors including blood lipids and insulin-glucose levels
  • Improves stability, balance and hand-eye coordination

Hiking

Hiking, or spending time with nature, has shown to be a great way to improve your mood, reduce stress and even improve memory and brain function.

Its benefits include:

  • Excellent cardiovascular exercise that improves heart and lung health
  • Builds muscle strength, especially in the legs and core
  • Enhances balance and coordination
  • Offers mental health benefits including stress reduction from exposure to the outdoors
  • Can be easily adjusted depending on fitness levels

Yoga

Improved flexibility, strength, mental health and even lower blood pressure are among the chief gains that can be drawn from practicing yoga

Its benefits include:

  • Improved flexibility, balance and strength
  • Enhances mental health through relaxation and stress reduction
  • Promotes better posture and alignment
  • Can be easily adapted to suit your fitness level and physical condition
  • Combines physical exercises with mindfulness practices

Rowing

A single rowing stroke works out your core, arms, glutes, back muscles and hamstrings. It also improves posture and has been shown to aid heart health.

Its benefits include:

  • A full-body workout that builds muscle strength and endurance
  • Strong cardiovascular workout
  • Low-impact reducing stress on joints
  • Helps with coordination and balance
  • Can be done on water or on indoor rowing machines

Martial Arts

Practicing martial arts increases your blood oxygen levels and heart rate, releasing endorphins that makes you feel happier and more confident, reducing stress and anxiety.

Their benefits include:

  • A full-body workout aiding strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness
  • Enhances coordination, balance and agility
  • Promotes discipline, focus and mental resilience
  • Teaches self-defence techniques
  • Encourages social interaction and teamwork

Book an appointment

There are many other beneficial sports you may wish to consider that offer a vast palette of benefits.

Finding one or more that you enjoy is important because that in itself brings happiness, helping to keep mental health issues at bay.

Potential physical issues may be more difficult for you to assess.

If you are older than 40, it is a good idea to check in with your GP to talk about the benefits and risks of playing your chosen sport.

Some sports might be better choices than others if you have any pre-existing health conditions or prior injuries.

You also want to ensure you play or participate at a level which is suitable for your age, keeping the likelihood of injury or illness to a minimum.

If you suffer an injury playing sport, see your GP immediately.

Book an appointment here today at either our Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or our Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.