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Taking up a Sport

For most of us, exam period is over. If not, it will finish soon. Over summer, apart from enjoying more free time, we will hopefully have better weather to enjoy each day. So, why not take up a sport?  

There are many reasons to get into a sport. Some people want to look better, some want to improve their endurance or strength, while the dream of others is to change their lifestyle for a healthier one. Not surprisingly, running, swimming and cycling are the most popular sports when it comes to taking up a new one. Let’s have a look at these sports and decide which of them could be an ideal choice for someone looking to start something new.

Our ancestors had to run huge distances every day in order to find food for them and their families. From this perspective, running appears to be the most natural activity for human beings. Although nowadays we don’t need to run huge distances in order to survive, the increasing popularity of running isn’t surprising. Running enables us to burn off more calories than any other sport. One hour of running enables an average person to burn off around 800 calories, while one hour of cycling and swimming would not be more than 500. Moreover, we can do without specialist equipment; all we need are a tracksuit and some trainers. Moneywise, it is difficult to find another equally cheap option. Finally, for people who practise such sports as rugby, football or hockey, additional running sessions will help to improve their endurance, which in turn will lead to better results in their focus sport.

However, running has one significant disadvantage. It can be very harmful for our joints, particularly for heavier people and those whose running form is poor. In short, running is a great sport in terms of dealing with problems with weight and endurance, but if your knees or shin bones hurt you after each running session, you’d better go for a different discipline.

Swimming is also a very advantageous sport. It enables us to develop practically all muscles. If we think about athletes who have a powerful, muscular body shape, runners and cyclists may not be the first to cross our minds. By contrast, professional swimmers have strong and proportionally developed muscles. What’s more, swimming is a great sport for people prone to injuries. Not only does it do no harm to most types of injuries, but also it can occasionally help to dispose of the pain. Another advantage of swimming is that our willingness to practise this sport regularly does not depend on weather. When it rains or temperature is low, running or cycling isn’t especially pleasant, whilst swimming is not affected. As a result, in the long run, swimming might be the best option for choosing a new hobby.
Unfortunately, swimming has its drawbacks as well. Although it’s a great sport for those who want to gain muscle, it is not a perfect choice for those who want to lose a few pounds. Not only can we run or cycle for longer than we can swim, thus burning off more calories, but also we tend to be less hungry after cycling or running sessions than after spending some time in a swimming pool.

Cycling has some very strong points as well. Even beginners are able to cycle a fair distance in comparison to running and swimming. It usually takes some time to become fit enough to run or swim for half an hour without a break, whereas it is not as challenging for the vast majority of us when it comes to cycling. Furthermore, cycling could be seen as a bit less boring than running or swimming. Cyclists have almost unrestricted opportunities to discover new routes and it’s quite popular to train in large groups.
However, cyclists face some problems too. One problem is traffic. Cars are no doubt the main enemies of cyclists. The second problem is related to unequal development of muscles. Cycling strongly engages the leg muscles, but arms and core muscles do much less work. As a result, cycling is not the best choice for those focused on building a very proportional body.

No matter whether you choose to take up running, swimming, cycling, or something completely different, you can be sure that it is a good choice. All of these disciplines can lower cholesterol, prevent high blood pressure, strengthen your muscles and enable you to burn off many calories. However, if you have some specific aims, it is a good idea to think more about your choice. For those who are focused on losing some pounds, running seems to be the best option. Swimming is recommended to those prone to injuries and to those who want to build strong upper body muscles. Finally, if you hate boredom or prefer low intensity workouts, cycling is something for you.

About Andrzej Lenartowic​z


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