Competition inspires us to strive for excellence and train our bodies and minds to outperform our peers. But not all sports are created equal. Recently, we listed the Top 10 Most Dangerous Sports that expose athletes to serious bodily harm. Now we have found the top 10 healthiest sports. The sports on this list have a low risk for causing serious injury and a high payoff in physical and mental health.
We first researched all the available data on many different sports and narrowed it down to 50, 20 and finally 10. We used a combination of internet, library, industry literature and Samir Becic knowledge as one of the leading health and fitness experts in U.S.
Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
- Swimming Swimming is an absolutely awesome sport for your heart. It also is a low-stress activity. It keeps you at a healthy body weight, improves lung capacity, and builds muscles, all in addition to burning calories. Best of all, swimming can be done anytime of year at an indoor pool.
- Tennis One hour of tennis burns 600 calories, putting it on par with jogging and cycling as one of the best aerobic activities. All the little sprints, pivots, slams, and serves in tennis also channel your strength and require you to exert energy in short but powerful bursts.
- Rowing HFR has reported the near-endless health benefits of rowing, which range from effective weight loss, a low risk of injury, and increased muscle strength. Rowing can be done inside on a rowing machine, or, after some rowing practice, out in the great outdoors.
- Squash Forbes has named squash the #1 healthiest sport in the world many years in a row. It burns calories, increases aerobic fitness, boosts flexibility, develops strength and power, and improves hand-eye coordination.
- Basketball Not only is basketball an incredibly tiring game to play, but it strengthens your health on many levels. Our research shows that it increases spatial awareness, fosters decision-making capabilities, reduces stress, helps immensely with coordination, and develops confidence. For each hour of competitive basketball, a 165-pound person can expect to burn around 600 calories, while a 250-pound person can burn up to 900 calories.
- Cycling The typical season for cycling takes place during May and June where millions of events and races take place every year globally. You don’t need to be trying to win the Maillot Jaune to get into this great sport. Cycling classes are fun and available everywhere. Cycling is a low-impact way to burn serious calories, but it also makes you happier and makes your brain stronger. Dr. Aurthur Kramer said of cycling: “Our research finds that after only three months, people who exercised had the brain volume of those three years younger.”
- Cross-Country Skiing Nordic skiing burns more calories than any other form of exercise or sport — up to 1,122 calories per hour for vigorous mountaineering! Skiers are also about 40 percent fitter than physically fit individuals, suggesting that the full-body workout provided by cross-country skiing is uniquely effective.
- Running Running is not just a young person’s sport: those who run regularly are less likely to experience bone and muscle loss as they age at the same pace as those who do not run regularly or at all. The bones grow and become stronger by responding to physical demands. It is also great for mental and overall physiological health. Running causes a release of endorphins to produce the famed “runner’s high.”
- Volleyball Serve’s up! Volleyball makes our list for healthiest sports because it increases metabolic rate, builds agility, strengthens coordination, and boosts mood, Oh, and it also burns plenty of calories. Harvard Medical School reports a person can burn between 90 to 133 calories during a half-hour game of non-competitive, non-beach volleyball, depending on a person’s weight, while a competitive gym game of volleyball burns between 120 to 178 calories.
- Gymnastics Gymnastics requires athletes to be flexible, strong, and in great shape. Each time a gymnast steps into the gym they are called on to use all of their mental and physical facilities to win the competition. That’s because participation in gymnastics does not only offer physical gains; it is beneficial for improving concentration and mental focus. Gymnastics allows children the chance to think for themselves, to stimulate their imaginations and to solve problems safely.