So you have looked at yourself in the mirror now that you are approaching something like middle age, and came to the conclusion that it is time to get in shape and start exercising again. That is good, and you can improve your body by jogging and playing some golf.
But you can do more. Maybe you can do something that provides a real challenge. You are not going to strap on a football helmet or dunk a basketball, but there are plenty of physical activities you can do that will give you a serious challenge and thrill. Here are five sports which can be fun, challenging, and get your body going.
Boxing is generally a young man’s sport, because really only young men are stupid enough to think that getting punched in the face repeatedly is a good idea.
But if you are looking to get fit, you do not have to actually punch anyone (or more importantly, get punched). There is a great deal of cardiovascular training which comes with preparing for boxing, whether it is jumping rope, wailing away on a punching bag, or practicing your reflexes and balance.
Many fitness centers offer boxing classes, and will understand if you come in only looking to get fit. They will give you a chance to practice without risking yourself in a serious match.
It should be noted that you should get into reasonably decent health before you try boxing. But once you do, it is a great way to improve your health.
Climbing is a sport which you can keep at your entire life, and there are many accounts of senior climbers succeeding. Just look at this 95-year old Connecticut climber, who set a record at her local park for her exploits.
Climbing offers a lot of challenges, but an older person does have some advantages compared to someone younger. An older person can step back, think, and calmly take the climb slowly and thoughtfully compared to someone with more energy. And you will have more time to learn the tricks and techniques needed to become a successful climber. You will also improve your muscles and heart strength as well as your grip.
Almost any guide to exercise will tell you how swimming is a great way to improve your health without risking injury. This is because there is no jumping, the water supports your weight, and it does not impact your joints all that much.
But as someone who has swam for most of his life, I can tell you there is a catch to it. Yes, swimming does not impact your joints and muscles as much as say, running. But because of this, it means that you can practice longer and harder than land sports where you have to stop and rest.
So while swimming has a reputation as an easy sport for those who are just exercising to stay fit, you can put a lot more effort into swimming compared to other sports. And that effort can translate into some fantastic health results.
Tennis can seem to be easy if you are watching the Wimbledon on TV, but it is a sport which can require jumping and short bursts of energy. So it may not seem to be suitable for an older person.
But you do not have to be the next Roger Federer. The constant running, walking, and hitting the ball all are part of tennis and can go a long way towards improving your total body health. And tennis is a sport which you can learn and continue to play at any point in your life, as Gerald Marzorati with the New York Times details.
Swimming can be hard. Boxing can be hard. Tennis can be hard. But generally when you’re finished with them, you can walk out, take a shower, and not be totally catatonic afterwards.
That cannot be said for rowing, one of the most challenging sports there is. Rowing seems easy for anyone who has ever watched a rowing race during the Olympics. But it taxes all of your muscles, even your legs (in fact, the legs are the key muscle in rowing as opposed to the arms). It also requires proper technique, a lot of practice, and will leave you absolutely sore when you are finished.
Rowing is an incredible challenge, but also gives you an incredible workout when you have finished. If you want a true, incredible challenge not for the weak hearted, then find that rowing machine at the gym or a local rowing crew and then get to work.
Featured photo credit: coffeebugg via flickr.com