Raise your heart rate, burn calories and rev up your metabolism!
But first… what is a ‘great workout’?
A great workout will not only raise your heart rate and burn lots of calories during the activity, but it will leave your metabolism revved up for hours afterwards too.
In fact, this ‘afterburn’ effect can last for up to 48 hours after the right kind of workout.
There are a few important factors that will bring about this optimal metabolic response. In particular, the ideal workouts include full-body compound movements that target the larger muscle groups, while allowing for very little rest time in between efforts.
So when you’re choosing a sport for a great workout, high intensity exercise is what you’re after.
High intensity workouts will help to reduce body fat, while increasing muscle mass and improving your cardiovascular health and overall endurance. Not only do the best workouts make us physically stronger, but they also develop our mental strength - leaving us better equipped to deal with whatever life throws our way.
To top it all off, a great workout releases the mood-boosting endorphins that make us feel happy and relaxed.
Sounds awesome, right? Here are 10 sports to try if you’re looking for a great workout you can commit to, look forward to and enjoy every time.
It may surprise you that boxing is a favourite sport among some of the world’s top models. That’s right - to look their best whilst strutting their stuff in lingerie and swimwear, models love to pull on their boxing gloves and sweat it out in the ring.
Punching a bag (or a mitt) is a great way to let go of stress and tension, but it’s also a go-to sport for those looking to shed fat and build an ultra lean, strong and graceful body - and these are just a few of the benefits of boxing!
Dancing is a great way to get your whole body moving for a killer workout, but it’s also a wonderful means of expressing yourself.
In the competitive circuit, dance requires the highest level of athleticism, but it’s quite unique - as it’s also an Art. There are many different styles of dance, but they all use movement and gesture to tell stories and communicate with audiences.
It’s a great choice of sport for those fitness lovers who are also artistically inclined.
Although it seems focused on the upper body, rowing actually works all the major muscle groups while building a really strong core - and a strong core is one of the most important foundation of fitness.
Rowing is an intense cardio workout that will make you really strong, while improving your coordination and total body awareness.
Joining a rowing team and getting out on the water means you’ll also be making new friends and enjoying nature at the same time. Win!
Whether you play on the ice or on a field, a game of hockey is one of the most intense cardio workouts you can get. This is because hockey players skate or run around the field at high speeds for 20 minutes at a time with very little rest.
In addition to getting a great cardio workout, hockey players benefit from improved hand-eye coordination, increased flexibility and amazing endurance.
Like hockey, soccer keeps players in constant motion. Playing soccer will give you the same benefits of a HIIT workout, as you’re constantly shifting between a less intense jog and a high-intensity sprint.
If you want a similar workout to a hockey match, but in a safer, non-contact setting with a lower risk of injury from flying objects - soccer is your best bet.
Jogging over a longer distance is great for your overall health, and especially beneficial to your most important muscle - the heart. However, jogging won’t provide you with the same style of workout that sprinting will.
Doing short, fast sprinting intervals for about 20 minutes is an ideal kindling for that sought-after post-workout metabolic fire. While you will burn some extra calories during a jog, the afterburn effect of a short and intense sprint session will continue long into your recovery time.
Whether you join a spin class complete with disco lights and thumping tunes, or tackle real life hills on a road bike, cycling can be an amazing workout.
Cyclists are renowned for their lean physiques and sculpted lower bodies - however, as with jogging, you’re not going to get the same style of workout if you’re casually cruising around town.
Keep your bike workouts short and intense to continue burning extra calories while you relax, sleep, and eat choc hazelnut mug cakes.
A true total-body workout, swimming is fantastic for your fitness while being very gentle on your joints. Swimming is the ultimate aerobic activity and ideal cross training sport, perfect for improving your performance in other athletic pursuits.
Utilising every part of your body at once, swimming is hard work - so you don’t need to do it for long to achieve a great workout. Don’t forget to pack your snacks when you head to the pool though - swimming really amps up your caloric needs, so you’ll definitely need to be prepared to combat hanger.
What do you get when you combine running, cycling and swimming? A triathlon of course! As a triathlete, you’d train to build outstanding endurance and speed across three intense sports, enjoying the unique benefits of each, while developing a superhuman level of fitness.
This kind of workout may sound very enticing, but be warned - triathlon is not a sport for the faint of heart - it’s the ultimate endurance test, requiring great physical and mental strength to get through the training, let alone a race.
Don’t let that put you off though - start at the beginning and gradually work your way to triathlete fitness.
10. Rock Climbing
If you’re not only looking for a great workout, but also seeking an adrenaline-fueled adventure - rock climbing may be the sport for you. Whether you train indoors at a rock gym, or outdoors on real rock faces, you won’t even need to climb fast to break a sweat and feel the burn.
Like swimming, rock climbing is a whole-body kind of deal - in fact, you’ll discover muscles you never knew you had!
Competitive rock climbing is growing in popularity, but because of the danger element - you need to really know what you’re doing and use all the special equipment - so make sure you take some classes before enjoying this great workout.
The great thing about sport is that you can actually have a lot of fun whilst putting yourself through an intense workout on a regular basis.
When you find the right sport for you, it’s easy to become committed and consistent, because exercise is no longer a chore. Through any of these 10 sports, you’ll be sure to push your physical and mental strength, fitness and health to new heights.