There are many sports that can help you get or stay in shape. Though individual exercise programs are a great way to improve health; the competition involved with sports such as running, tennis, and skiing increases motivation and overall performance. Each strengthens muscles, improves coordination and flexibility, and burns several hundred calories each hour. This article will focus on the health benefits of these three sports and will give some practical tips for beginners looking to get involved with running, tennis, or skiing.

Running

Long recognized as a healthy activity, running has become an increasingly popular sport over the last several years. Thousands of individuals compete each year in 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, or full marathons and participate in intense training regimens to help prepare for these races. The health benefits of running include improved cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and a higher metabolism, according to WebMD. A common mistake that many people interested in running make is to start out too intense. Running a full marathon is a great goal, but you certainly don’t have to start with that in mind! Start out slow, perhaps with the Couch to 5k running plan, and work your way up in distance. Any amount of running is better than no running at all!

Tennis

Another sport that boasts a variety of health benefits is tennis. According to the USTA, those people who play tennis at least 3 hours each week cut their risk of death by half. Tennis improves aerobic fitness, speed, leg strength, and agility for those who regularly play. Another healthy attribute to playing tennis is that it improves the connections in your brain. Truly a thinking sport, people who play tennis must make quick decisions about each play. This strengthens the connections in the brain, leading to lasting improvements in quality of thought. To get started playing tennis, find a friend who is on your same playing level and practice with him or her. Don’t worry about being great…just get out and move! The skill will come with time.

Skiing

For those athletes who would prefer a winter sport, skiing is a great activity that burns hundreds of calories. Skiing improves flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular health in a way unmatched by many other winter sports. In order to properly ski, you must be flexible to avoid obstacles and injury while on a hill. Leg strength is essential to maintain proper control of the skis and to avoid falling when speeding downhill. Walking uphill while carrying ski equipment will maintain cardiovascular health for an avid skier. One of the best reasons that many people ski is due to the scenic views available on ski resorts all over the world. If you are concerned about travel hassles with your skis, there are companies such as Ship Skis, which will transport your equipment to any location at a low cost to you. This way you can enjoy all of the health benefits of skiing in beautiful destinations all over the world.

Running, tennis, and skiing are three sports that are easy to learn and also boast a variety of health benefits to those who actively participate in them. Running torches the most calories of the three, at approximately 500-600 for 60 minutes of activity. Tennis and skiing are tied for second with approximately 300-400 calories burned each hour. No matter the sport you choose to participate in, make sure that you first talk with your doctor and aim to get at least 150 minutes of exercise in each week to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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