Fitness is the body’s overall ability to function effectively. And there are certain sports that are particularly good at boosting this ability. Getting fit is not just about endurance training — it’s also about increasing your strength in all senses of the word or in other words your power, speed, and flexibility. A solid fitness base is a vital foundation for muscle building and steady improvements in performance. The following seven sports are particularly good choices for laying down the necessary groundwork. It’s a good idea to include at least two of them in your training regime.
Even if you only stick to a moderate pace, running is good news for your entire cardiovascular system. It can also have beneficial effects for people suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or stress. If you want to stay healthy and get the maximum bang for your running buck, you should be mindful of your posture — lean forwards slightly from the waist, and look straight ahead. Looking down put unnecessary stress on your spinal discs and the muscles in your neck and back.
By which we mean walking at a brisk pace, using your arms at the same time. Walking is a gentler alternative to running, especially for those who are starting from zero. And you can even combine the two in your training sessions by alternating them at five-minute intervals. Fast walking cranks up the metabolism and burns fat, and is softer on the knee joints than fast jogging. Walking and running are good sports if you see yourself as a future marathon finisher.
Regardless of whether you head out into the great wide open or stay indoors on an exercise bike, cycling is great for your abs, glutes, and leg muscles. Biking is the ideal choice for people carrying a little extra weight who would like to dip their toes into the world of sport, but also a good way for anyone to build fitness gradually. Beginners should always start small and let it grow from there. Don’t forget to stretch your leg and glute muscles after each session in the saddle.
The impact of gravity on the body is less in the water, which is good news when it comes to flexing your fitness muscles. Circulation is improved because the pressure of the water increases the flow of blood from the surface blood vessels to the chest area. Fitness wannabes who go to the trouble of learning the various strokes so that they can switch between them will be rewarded with a good all-round workout option. Backstroke in particular can be something of a miracle cure for back pain sufferers, since the semi-weightlessness you experience in the pool allows the back muscles to be worked in a manner different to other sports. Swimming also jump-starts your metabolism and can help eliminate the cellulite which plagues many women.
Rowing might not be a feasible fitness option for everyone, but it’s definitely a good way to increase your general stamina. Even though rowing and other paddle sports are carried out from a seated position, they are great fitness builders and also good for the back. Newbies may well see their pulse rate shooting up, since they’re likely to have to work quite hard. If you’re just starting out, it’s advisable to structure your sessions in such a way that you can take a break every 10 minutes.
6. Elliptical trainer
If you’re already a regular gym goer, you’ll be familiar with the elliptical machine and maybe even use it as part of your regular program. Elliptical machines have cemented their place in the family of cardio equipment, which also includes treadmills and rowing machines. Working out on an elliptical trainer is easy on the joints, and the option of adjusting the level of effort makes it a good choice for beginners.
Yes, dancing counts too! And you don’t have to wait until the next time you’re out partying in a club — you can dance to your favorite music at home, with or without a partner. Warm up with a couple of slower-paced songs, then start to pick up the pace. Dancing exercises lots of different muscles and puts a smile on your face. But it will only deliver results if you get good and sweaty.
The number-one rule for endurance training — if you’re going to do it, do it right
If you want to get fit, you need to remember one thing: don’t overexert yourself. When you get to the end of a workout, you should always feel like you have a bit more gas in the tank. Regardless of the sport, make sure you spend enough time stretching the muscles you’ve been working after each session. After a while you’ll see noticeable fitness gains since there’s nothing magic about getting in shape — you just need to choose a sensible training regime.
The information provided through our blog or e-mails is not intended to be and is not a substitute for, professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can be provided by your own health care professional. Garmin is not attempting to diagnose, treat or cure any physical ailment, or any mental or emotional issue, disease or condition. Our blogs are intended to help you reach your own health and wellness goals.