Writing for The Hippocratic Post, Dr Luke Powles, Clinical Director at Bupa Health Clinics reviews a summer of sports and new activities:
Following a summer of high-profile sports events, it’s no surprise we have become inspired to try something new. Over the last few months, there has been a surge in searches on Google for a range of activities, including handball, gymnastics, and water polo. Unsurprisingly, there are lots of health and wellbeing benefits when you try a new activity.
We’ve watched numerous successes with great enjoyment across different types of sport this summer, and it’s encouraging to see so many of us feeling inspired and searching for a new sport to try. Not only is it great fun to mix up your exercise routine, but it’s a great way to meet new people, avoid workout boredom and find something new you enjoy.
Don’t underestimate the value of regular physical activity on your health either: it helps you to feel more relaxed, boost your energy, and gives you a sense of achievement.
- Handball is the most popular sport for the UK to try (967% increase), inspired by this year’s Summer of Sport
- Following on from England’s Euro success, searches on Google for ‘football near me’ increased by 806%
- ‘Triathlons near me’ is the third most popular, with a 646% increase over the last two months
- According to Bupa research, 2 million eager exercisers hurt themselves during lockdown, with men twice as likely to injure themselves, so Dr Luke Powles shares his advice on avoiding injury
10 most popular summer of sport-inspired activity:
|% increase in searches in Summer 2021:
|Handball near me
|Football near me
|Triathlon near me
|Water polo near me
|Table tennis near me
|Gymnastics near me
|Archery near me
|Karate near me
|Badminton near me
|Judo near me
Four benefits of switching up your exercise routine
Prevent overuse injuries
Exercising the same way all the time can increase your risk of injury through overuse, often through training or technique errors. For example, going too fast, exercising for too long or simply doing too much of one type of activity can strain your muscles and lead to an overuse injury.
Mixing up your exercise routine avoids this repetition and may lower your risk of an overuse injury. Also, make sure you’re pacing yourself, wear the correct footwear for your chosen sport, and gradually increase your activity level.
Avoid workout boredom
Even if you love to exercise, the same activity can quickly become dull. Studies have even shown that performing the same exercises repeatedly increases the risk of giving up on exercise. Trying something new is a great way to avoid repetitive workouts, keep your exercise varied and ensure you stay motivated to achieve your fitness goals.
If you’re an exercise enthusiast, it’s likely you’re always looking to improve your fitness performance. To get the best results, you should change up parts of your workout every three to four weeks depending on your experience level and the time of year.
Focus on different muscle groups
When you try a new sport or exercise routine, you’ll often stimulate different muscle groups. Varied workouts keep all your muscles, bones, and joints healthy, as well as improving your strength, balance, and co-ordination.
How to avoid injury when trying a new sport
With proper precautions, sports injuries can often be prevented. Firstly, make sure you use the right equipment and footwear, as the wrong shoes can lead to injury. Don’t underestimate the importance of warming up and cooling down, either. Recovery is an essential part of any training programme and it’s important to help maximise performance and reduce your risk of injury.
Our bodies repair and strengthen when we’re at rest, so include rest days to give your muscles the chance to recover. If you’re new to exercise or change your usual routine, such as the intensity or duration, you may experience delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Finally, when you’re exercising, it’s important that you listen to your body and know when to stop. If you haven’t exercised for a while, start slowly and gradually increase how much you do. This will help prevent pulling or straining your muscles. And remember, some discomfort is natural, but pain is never a good thing. Stop and speak to a fitness professional if you’re feeling any pain when exercising.