Photo by CC user chrishunkeler on Flickr
You want to improve your fitness, health, and general well-being, but you do not know where to start. A great starting point on the road to improved health and fitness is to take up a sport. Not only are you getting great exercise, but you also get to be part of a team or collective.
What is a suitable sport for a beginner to take up? The first thing to remember in considering any sport is that you want to feel comfortable at what you are doing – comfortable enough to give the sport a go at the very least and not to give up almost as soon as you have started. Choose something appropriate for your age and interests. For instance, if you do not have a head for heights, then rock climbing is not going to be suitable for you. Equally, if you have a need for adventure and adrenalin, then walking or ten-pin bowling might not be the best match.
The following are some of the best sports for beginners that you can take up for improved fitness and better health.
Running/jogging: You might think that running or jogging is a solitary pastime, but there are running and jogging clubs in many communities that you can join. A running club is a great way for you to meet people and make new friends, and the more experienced members will be able to advise you on training schedules and what is the best gear to wear. A running club might also provide you with the opportunity to enter race events if you want to bring getting fitter onto a new level.
Flag football: As a sports beginner, it is safe to say that no one is asking you to play football at NFL level, but there is a fun alternative – flag football. The game is organized along the lines of American football, but instead of tackling, players are required to remove a flag or flag belt from the attacking players to end a down. Flag football can be a great social occasion, offering you the opportunity to bond with teammates and play in organized leagues with social outings and after-game meetups all part of the occasion. An alternative to flag football is touch rugby.
Golf: Golf is a great sport to take up at any age, but as an adult, you will find it has many benefits. Golf is a relatively low-impact sport, though you need to be careful that your swing does not cause any shoulder or back pain. As a social outing, the game represents a great opportunity to meet people. Clubs and driving ranges offer lessons to beginners, so do not be worried if you think your golf game is not up to scratch.
There is also a range of more unusual sports for those beginners of a quirkier disposition. These range from roller derby, the full-contact sport played on wheels, to Quidditch, the sport based on the game featured in the Harry Potter series of books, but minus the magic spells and flying golden ball.
In our drive to get fitter and healthier, we sometimes forget that exercise can result in injury. Prevention is the best cure, so ensure that you have the appropriate gear to wear regardless of what sport you take up. A great way to prevent injuries and to help in the healing process if injuries do arise is to use compression gear. Examples of compression gear include a back brace or a compression core band or a copper ankle sleeve. Compression tops and bottoms are also available. Compression gear is comfortable to wear, so you will not be inhibited by it as you play your sport. Take an item such as an ankle sleeve. It fits tidily over the ankle and is suitable even for everyday wear, helping to make the healing process even faster.
Whatever sport you choose, a key piece of advice for a beginner is to start slow. If possible, seek out one-on-one lessons or instruction and familiarize yourself with how the sport is played. If you take up a team sport, look for a league that has different divisions reflecting different levels of skill and experience or cater for different age groups so that you do not feel out of your depth at the beginning.
As the old saying goes, there is strength in numbers, and by taking up a sport, you can draw on the motivation of your fellow players or participants in the quest to get fitter and healthier.