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Sports

10 of the Best Sports for Overall Physical Health During Covid-19

We live in a fast-paced world where work often takes priority. Stress eventually takes its toll, giving us clear signs that it's time to put our health first. However, during these trying times with Covid-19 preventing us from living our regular lives, it's just hard to stay in shape. Exercise plays a vital role in maintaining mental and physical health. But the truth is, starting a workout routine for the sake of living a healthier lifestyle has its pitfalls.

It's hard to stay motivated and keep at it. If allowed in your area, taking up a sport could make a difference while the coronavirus news prevents us from our habits. Focusing on mastering skills and improving performance holds our attention much longer (and is more fun) than working out for the sake of being healthy. But not all sports have the same impact on overall health. To help steer you in the right direction, we have come up with a list of the ten best sports for overall fitness and physical health.

What Is The Best Sport To Get In Shape

Martial Arts

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Martial Arts, like karate, judo, kickboxing, or tae-kwon-do, combine everything in sports that are good for the body: flexibility, movement, strength, speed, power, and endurance. A 130 lb. person doing Martial Arts can burn around 590 calories for an hour.

Martial Arts is physically demanding, but it also requires mental strength and discipline. It takes incredible perseverance and determination to get through a match when you are so exhausted that you can barely stand. If you're looking for an intense, full-body sports workout with a high-calorie burn, Martial Arts is a route to explore. The bonus – zero equipment required.

2. Surfing

Want to feel at one with the ocean while getting a super intense full-body sports workout? Try surfing. It's not entirely as laid back as you might think. It requires using your entire body – from the arms, chest, back, and shoulders, which are activated in paddling, to your lower body and core in balancing on the board.

Not to mention the incredible stamina and fitness required to hold your breath for extended periods while your heart is pounding in your throat. Its strength, balance, and cardio are all packed into one, with one adrenalin jolt after the other.

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3. Triathlon

With swimming, cycling, and running in the mix, triathlons are great for overall physical health. This multidisciplinary sport provides a full-body sports workout that utilizes all the major muscle groups – in the upper and lower body (not to mention the excellent cardio benefits).

The fact that triathlon has both weight-bearing (running) and non-weight-bearing (swimming and cycling) components sets this sport apart. You don't put force on your bones all the time, but you still get the benefits of the weight-bearing element, which improves bone density.

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4. Kitesurfing

Kitesurfing can seem intimidating to those who haven't tried it, but learning how to kitesurf is very easy – anyone can do it. Kitesurfing mainly works the legs (quads, hamstrings, and calves) and core – the abs, lower back, and deeper core muscles such as the transverse abs and the multifidus – a thin muscle deep in the spine, spanning three joint segments. These muscles get strongly engaged, especially when carving upwind, which involves pulling hard into your harness to create tension in your lines.

The intensity of the workout depends on wind and water conditions and your riding style – how much upwind riding you do. Although kitesurfing focuses mainly on muscular strength, it can give you a great cardio workout with the right riding style.

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5. Gymnastics

Gymnastics is arguably one of the most strenuous sports regarding physical strength and flexibility. But aside from the sheer strength and suppleness required to compete in this sport, gymnastics takes a lot of dedication and discipline – you have to admire the work ethic needed to perfect all those intricate flips, twists, and jumps.

Gymnasts' strength-training workouts are so intense that many of their exercises are now being incorporated into CrossFit and bodybuilding routines around the world – which says a lot about their level of intensity. If you are up for the challenge, gymnastics is a sport to consider. While CrossFit and bodybuilding classes may not fit into everyone's schedule, there are plenty of at-home options for people who still want the intensity of gymnastics in their workout routine. However, you may want to buy a home gymnastics barrel or an inflatable gymnastics wedge, as you will see results more quickly if you add a few pieces of equipment to your at-home routine.

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6. Wrestling

Wrestling is great for overall physical health and fitness because it requires strength, balance, agility, endurance, power, coordination, and skill. The pushing and pulling motions work the upper body, and, since you're in a squatted position most of the time, the legs get a great workout too.

Core strength is vital for balance and short, explosive movements, while flexibility helps pull off stunts and maneuvers to fight off an opponent's takedown. A wrestling match is six minutes of non-stop action, which requires excellent cardiovascular fitness too.

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7. Squash

Squash demands agility, speed, and excellent muscular endurance to withstand those long, intense rallies. It's great for torching calories, increasing aerobic fitness, boosting flexibility, developing strength, and improving hand-eye coordination. On top of this, squash offers great social interaction and healthy competition.

8. Crossfit

CrossFit is an all-in-one deal requiring exceptional physical and mental strength. Instead of specializing in one particular discipline, it combines strength training, explosive plyometrics, bodyweight exercises, Olympic and power-style weight lifting, kettlebells, gymnastics, speed training, and endurance exercises.

All the major components of physical fitness are involved: cardiorespiratory fitness, speed, balance, stamina, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, power, agility, coordination, and accuracy. Expect to be challenged to the max!

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9. Boxing

Getting knocked out is perhaps not the best way to go if you want to put your health first – but hey, getting into boxing doesn't mean you have to go pro. You can box in VR. The fact remains: boxers are exceptional athletes, and the sport offers an incredible full-body sports workout. It would be best to have strength, flexibility, power, accuracy, speed, muscular and cardiovascular endurance when facing your opponent. On top of this, boxing requires conditioning of the mind, too, as the physical battle turns psychological at some point. It's the ultimate test of physical and mental stamina in a sport.

10. Mountain Biking

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Riding a mountain bike is one of the best cardiovascular exercises out there, not to mention the sheer joy of being out in nature. Mountain biking increases cardiovascular fitness. It boosts muscle strength (especially in the lower body), improves flexibility, and develops balance and coordination. Peddling up technical rocky hills and maneuvering down narrow, snaking paths involve every inch of the human body to work together. But the reward is well worth it.

Ben is a sports writer based in Miami with a passion for analytics.