Looking for a change of scenery? As well as keeping you fit, trying a new sport is great for your confidence and a good way to meet people. We’ve rounded up a few no-contact sports to boost your health and your outlook.
Swimming is probably the gentlest sport you can take up for your joints, as the water supports your weight. You’ll sleep better and come out of the water feeling relaxed, plus it’s great for muscle tone and strength. Haven’t swum in years? Don’t worry. Many leisure centres offer adult swimming classes to help you improve your stroke, or you can even learn from scratch. And if you don’t feel comfortable out of your depth, try aquarobics (aqua aerobics) with a pool noodle and get many of the same benefits of swimming laps.
Tennis is a wonderfully social sport and if you join a local club and have some lessons you may even find yourself a tennis partner to have a hit with once a week or so. Like swimming, it’s a reasonably gentle sport but great for cardiovascular health, as well as balance and coordination. It’s definitely worth finding an experienced coach who will meet you at the level you’re at and push you to improve. A gentler alternative is badminton, which provides the same workout with a little less intensity – and it’s a great one to play with a friend.
Sailing is a fantastic retirement hobby as it means being out on the water, keeping fit and taking in beautiful scenery while learning new skills. And if you’re not planning to buy your own boat, it’s also reasonably affordable. The best place to start is at your local sailing club, where you can take part in beginners’ classes to see if it’s the right sport for you. Visit Australia Sailing to find out what clubs are near you.
Lawn bowls is a great sport if you want to go gently, as it boosts your coordination and gets you moving but isn’t particularly demanding on the body. As we mentioned in a previous blog, lawn bowls are booming – it’s a sociable sport and a great way to meet new friends locally, as many local councils maintain a club.
Ten-pin bowling is a fun, competitive night or day out with a group of friends or family. More a social event and less of a strenuous workout, it’s nonetheless more enjoyable than sitting at home in front of the telly, and there are some wonderful ten-pin bowling halls to discover.
Golf is for everyone in need of some green time – it’s a relaxing, scenic sport and golf clubs offer a social element too, with a drink or meal at the club restaurant to round out the day. Most clubs offer one-to-one lessons to get you started; after that, it’s a matter of meeting up with friends or fellow beginners and enjoying the great outdoors, particularly in autumn and spring.
Walking and running are the perfect sports if you’re on a budget as they are free and require no special equipment. There are lots of apps you can download to set goals, such as Couch to 5K, which claims to get anyone off the couch and running five kilometres in just nine weeks. As long as you’re not crossing too many busy roads, an audiobook or podcast is a relaxing accompaniment – the Libby app, which lets you borrow from your local library, gives you access to thousands of audiobooks. Or why not look into local bush walks with family or friends, or join your local bushwalking club, and see some beautiful sights as you get fit?
Cycling is one of those sports that can be as complicated or as simple as you like – at one end of the scale you can spend thousands and set out like you’re racing in the Tour de France, at the other you can just enjoy a relaxed bike ride through a nearby park or along a local waterfront. And it’s true that you never forget how to ride a bike, no matter how long it’s been. Just make sure you have the right equipment – a helmet, knee and shoulder pads if you like, and lights if you are cycling at night. Many places in Australia have amateur cycling clubs that are great to help you get started and meet new people.
Cricket is fun, social and active and most communities have a club or two, with lessons and regular gatherings – a great way to meet people in your area and get fit at the same time. The Play Cricket website will ask you questions about your skill level and age and help you find the right programme, as well as provide information about clubs near you.
Squash, like tennis, is great for heart health, coordination and balance, and maintaining a healthy weight. Plus, being an indoor sport, it’s sun-safe and you can play year-round. Visit Squash Australia to find your local club.
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