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The most effective sports for a full-body workout

Exercise can sometimes be a daunting prospect so it’s often beneficial to cultivate a passion for sport. Playing a sport is an effective way of burning calories whilst distracting the mind from feelings of tiredness or boredom. Competitive activities, in particular, can inspire a greater amount of exertion with the added goal of ‘winning’ to aim for. Here we look at some of the best sports for achieving a full-body workout.


It may seem counterintuitive to suggest golf, given the leisurely pace of the game and the limited scope of golf swings. Disregard the golf buggy, however, and walking an 18-hole game of golf with your clubs on your back over the course of several hours represents a fantastic way to build fitness. Walking is an underrated all-round activity and in combination with the sudden movements involved with playing golf, players gain the benefit of both slow and fast-burning exercise.


Tennis players use nearly every muscle in their body during a workout as it tests your balance, sprint speed and power with every point. The accumulation of fast movements helps massively with building stamina and agility. The world’s number one tennis player Novak Djokovic is renowned for his incredible durability having won several marathon matches, lasting over five hours in some cases, throughout his career. Although he is 33, a relative veteran in tennis terms, he remains the 11/10 favourite in tennis betting for the Australian Open which highlights the age-defying benefits of playing the sport.

You might never become a Djokovic or Federer, but playing tennis at any level is certain to have a myriad of positive effects on fitness. From strengthening the lower body, upper body and core to improving aerobic and anaerobic health through increased oxygen flow to the muscles – tennis is a true all-rounder sport.


For something perhaps less taxing on the knees and joints, however, swimming also represents a hugely effective full-body workout. Swimming requires both strength and endurance as you fight against the friction of the water and pace yourself over long distances. The activity strengthens joints and even improves posture by improving the positioning of the spinal column and strengthening the musculature surrounding it. Swimming is used for rehabilitation in many other sports like football, with the Football Association offering a bespoke hydrotherapy suite. Swimming truly engages all muscle groups as swimmers push with their legs and stretch forward with their arms whilst engaging their core. 


Another activity which has a low impact on the joints, cycling is a brilliant aerobic workout and builds leg muscles quickly. Cycling can be combined with getting from point A to point B and therefore offers itself as a wonderful way to run daily errands, or perhaps even complete the commute, whilst increasing levels of fitness. Bikes are appropriate for all ages and abilities and can be a fun way to explore new places with friends and family. Cycling can build your overall fitness without you even noticing.

There are plentiful options for achieving a full-body workout, whether you’re more inspired by competitive activities like tennis or perhaps more recreational or practical forms of exercise like cycling. Whatever your preference, it certainly pays dividends to experiment with different forms of exercise to find your true passion.


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