Different sports are good for different reasons, so in no particular order here’s some benefits
1. Hillwalking – out in the fresh air, lots of climbing up and down to work muscles in different ways
2. Walking – can be a social activity where you get to talk to your friends, also an outdoor activity. Most health benefits when you walk fast enough so you can say a sentence without struggling, but need to take another breath before continuing to the next
3. Yoga/pilates – good for destressing and relaxation – also excellent for core strength which is good for your back
4. Team sports – hockey, football, basketball – social sports, good to meet friends, long duration matches but with lots of short sharp sprints which trains your heart in different ways
5. Running – each time you strike the ground there is about 2.5 times your body weights of force going through your leg – provided you don’t run too much without a break, this is good to make your bones stronger
6. Weightlifting – makes your muscles grow very big and strong, and we know strong muscles are important to not get injured and to keep you moving as best you can as you get older
7. Gymnastics – great all around sport where you need strength, coordination and flexibility – each important in their own way.
8. I have to say horse riding but maybe others wouldn’t – way of working your muscles in a way no other sport can, you also develop incredible balance from staying on board!
9. Swimming – low impact sport so low forces on your body, great way to make your heart and lungs fitter
10. Cycling – also low impact and good for your heart and lungs, but also a useful way of transporting yourself from place to place. I know swimming can do that too, but only if you are trying to cross some water 🙂
Different sports have different benefits. Someone may choose one sport over another due to fitness levels, impact on joints, accessibility to equipment or facilities, cost or social benefits. For someone who hasn’t exercised before we wont advise them to immediately start running, due to the potential injury risk and lack of fitness making it hard to maintain sustained effort. So we would suggest walking first and slowly building up fitness and strengthening muscles before attempting short efforts of running. Due to body type and genetics you may find that you are more suited to certain sports, i.e. find them easier than others. For example good hand eye coordination is essential for racket sports. So picking top 10 sports is more down to personal choice than being the healthiest as such.