As much as I love being up and active, getting out and about, it’s also ridiculously easy to become a couch potato and to spend your days withering away turning into a lethargic, lazy excuse of your former self. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love nothing more than just lounging on the sofa with a good boxset; the problem is TV binging does not love my body. I try to find ways to stay fit whilst having a bit of fun outside of the comfort of my living room.
Over the years, I’ve found certain sports help me lose weight and stay in shape. So I thought I’d share my four top picks with you to help you do the same. Now, I understand that not everyone will like or be able to do some of these but if you get the chance to at least try them once upon a time, then I urge you to go for it, bite the bullet and try something different.
This has to be my favourite thing to do outside of my house. One of the best places to go on a walking trail has to be the Lake District, which offers plenty of walks and picturesque scenery however, it’s a bit far for me to get to on an afternoon. A visit to the Lakes generally involves a bit more planning than just deciding on a whim that I’m gonna go.
I also found it one of the easiest fitness activities to ease back into after I got a bad football injury a few years back. Once I was given the all clear by the physio I was seeing at HMT Sancta Maria Hospital, I grabbed my boots and backpack and headed up to the Lakes to tackle the likes of Scafell Pike, Coniston Old Man and the other fantastic wainwrights that are up there for all to see. Plus, you take your dog with you and you’ve got company, if you’re like me and your girlfriend couldn’t think of anything worse than going on a hike.
You might think boxing isn’t too fun. Well, you wouldn’t be too wrong as it’s not enjoyable when you get caught with a jab flush to your nose. However, it’s one of the best sports for releasing tension whilst building muscle and burning calories. On top of this, if you want an intense cardio workout, go to your local boxing beginners class and you’ll get put through your paces, that’s for sure!
It probably helps that I’m a bit of a boxing fan, and I often think I’m harder than Anthony Joshua when strapping on the boxing gloves, even though I wouldn’t last one punch with him, but it’s definitely a worthwhile sport for people looking to lose weight and tone up. You don’t have to fight in boxing matches. You can limit the contact to sparring, I only do a bit of sparring myself but it’s good to get stuck into. You can also attend boxercise classes for less aggressive exercises and if the thought of entering a boxing gym scares you.
As I said a little earlier, my favourite forms of exercise are the outdoor sports. When I don’t have the chance to do a spot of hiking, walking or whatever you call it, I often grab my bike and cycle here, there and everywhere. I find that it’s a little bit invigorating, gives you time to reflect on things that may be on your mind. I only started cycling after growing tired of busy traffic every single morning on my way to work so cycling was the next best option.
I may get into work a bit hot and sweaty but cycling to work has not only provided me with an easier commute, but I feel I have more energy throughout the day – and I feel less guilty about the occasional mid-day snacks which helps as I know if I stray from the fruit or nuts, I’ll burn off anything that’s not ideal for me.
Skiing is one activity I don’t have the opportunity to do very often, but I absolutely love it, I’ve kind of included it as I just love the feeling of the thrill when you’re hurtling down the snowy slope. Not only is it a fun thing to do with friends, but it also helps to strengthen my shoulders, chest and arms, basically my upper body. I’ve only went skiing a few times, but I plan on booking mr return to the French Alps soon.
If there is one thing I’ve learnt over the years it’s that exercise doesn’t have to be boring. I really do believe there is an exercise out there for everyone – even your most ardent couch potato. If you want a bit of motivation to start working out, check out my post on the best fitness apps here.