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Posted on 07-18-2016

Everybody knows that playing sports is a great way to keep your body in good physical condition. However, while many sports burn a lot of calories, they can also damage your body in certain ways. Low activity sports such as golf are good for you, but are nowhere near as beneficial as sports like tennis. There are a number of factors to consider when determining the “healthiest” sport, as it isn’t just determined by the number of calories burned. We must also consider factors such as risk of injury, cardiorespiratory endurance required, and muscular strength necessary. With that said, let’s go over some of the healthiest sports that you can play to keep yourself in peak physical condition.

5. Cross Country Skiing

Unlike downhill skiing, cross country skiing requires you to be your own source of locomotion. The body has to use all of the muscles involved to both push and pull, something that creates a full body workout. However, because cross country skiing utilizes so many muscles in the body, no one muscle group becomes particularly strained; which allows you to do it for long periods of time. On top of that, it burns a huge amount of calories per hour.

4. Swimming

Swimming is a great sport that’s similar to cross country in that it works out several muscle groups in the body. The primary benefit that it has over cross country is that it’s far more accessible to the general population. If you live in SoCal, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a place to cross country ski-- while finding a pool is far easier. One of the biggest benefits of swimming is that that it allows you to get a full body workout without wreaking havoc on your skeletal system due to high impact. Although activities like running are great for cardio; they can also deal damage to the body due to the impact of your steps on the ground. Swimming solves this all while allowing you to burn up to 900 calories per hour of constant movement.

3. Rock Climbing

When we think of rock climbing as a sport, we tend to think of the daredevils hanging upside down off the underside of a cliff. However, with the sport gaining huge momentum, rock climbing gyms are starting to pop up everywhere, giving people a safe and incredibly healthy way to exercise. Rock climbing is another sport that uses a number of muscles in the body. Even your hands and forearms will develop from rock climbing, as it requires you to have a strong grip on the surfaces you cling to. Rock climbing also greatly increases flexibility, and is amazing for mental strength. The main goal of rock climbing is often to get to the top. Because of this, the sport appeals to human nature as it leaves people feeling incredibly accomplished once they’ve pushed themselves to reach the peak.

2. Rowing

Rowing isn’t just for the Olympics, or for large teams. In fact, it can be done solo and is still a great exercise. One thing about rowing is that it demands and creates healthy body composition. It helps to burn off fat which is crucial so that you aren’t trying to row around an extra 50 lbs. in the water. Rowing also promotes cardiovascular strength, and often reduces stress. The sport requires you to be in a large body of water, that’s usually very still. Because of your location while rowing, you’ll often experience feelings of relaxation and calm; all while increasing your heart strength and getting a great workout.

1. Squash

Coming in at #1 is squash. In a study conducted by Forbes magazine, squash was found to be the overall healthiest sport in a number of categories. Similar to racquetball, squash is played in an enclosed court with small rackets. As a player, you are constantly moving, but the impact on your body is kept low as you aren’t sprinting constantly. You work out nearly all of the muscles in your body, and you can burn 800 calories per hour while playing! On top of that, the risk for injury is low, and it’s incredibly accessible to most people with a gym nearby.

Although squash is rated as the healthiest sport; all of these sports are great options. The important thing is to stay active!

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