Australia has a global reputation as a nation of people who are fit, healthy and love the great outdoors. However, according to the latest national report card, the truth might fall a little short of the image. Sedentary lifestyles, more time spent online and a booming fast food industry are all taking their toll, and the average Australian is getting fatter and less fit by the year.Gyms and personal trainers are rapidly seeking to turn this into a business opportunity, and nobody can blame them for that. But when you think back to past generations, there was no need for treadmills or rowing machines. Our parents and grandparents stayed fit by getting out there and playing sport, and there is no reason not to do exactly the same thing. But which sports are most effective for all-round fitness?
There’s no better way to give your body a work out than going for a swim, and when you do so competitively, you are certain to really give it your all. Swimming is an effective way to burn off calories, so it helps you maintain a healthy body weight. It also tones up all-round muscular strength, and even increases lung capacity. It is something you can enjoy all year round, regardless of whether you prefer to hit the beach or the pool.
When Leyton Hewitt was dominating the tennis world, the sport was hugely popular all across Australia, but since his retirement, that popularity has waned. That’s a shame, because tennis is right up there with running and cycling when it comes to providing an aerobic workout. Data from online betting Unibet shows that young firebrand Nick Kyrgios is climbing the rankings as well as hitting the headlines, so perhaps this will encourage more amateur players to once again take up their racquets.
SquashAnyone who has ever played squash will know that it is a game that certainly demands fitness, but according to Forbes magazine, it can also promote it. Squash consistently attains the number one spot in their annual poll of the healthiest sports to play. As well as burning calories and boosting cardiovascular fitness, it is a great way to improve flexibility and to hone hand/eye coordination.
BasketballHere’s another sport that enhances areas of your health that you might not immediately think about. Of course, spending time on the basketball court in non-stop action is good news for your cardiovascular health and endurance. On top of that, though, it also promotes bone strength, spatial awareness and coordination.
GymnasticsMost of us played a variety of sports when we were at school, but one common factor is that we all did gymnastics. There’s a sound reason for that, in that it helps children develop mental focus as well as toning their muscles and enhancing their balance and flexibility. These sound like ideal qualities to carry into later life, so perhaps we should all return to our school days and do some gymnastics, at least once per week.