We all know the importance of keeping fit and healthy, however you might feel the gym just isn’t for you. Here are a few great ways to help you stay healthy and have fun, without going to the gym.

Run, run, run

Regular running offers a range of physical benefits as well as improving mental health. As an aerobic workout, running helps to improve both your cardiovascular and respiratory system.

According to the NHS, running on a regular basis can also reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood and keep weight under control.

Another advantage of running is that you can do it almost anywhere, all you need is a good pair of running shoes – which running experts suggest are replaced every 300 miles – and motivation to get outdoors even if it’s terrible weather. You could also join a local running club – check out RunTogether where you can put in your location and it details running clubs local to you.

To get the most out of your run don’t start off at full throttle but rather ease yourself to a quick pace after a gentle warm up and beginning to run slowly. After you run it’s important to stretch as this will help the muscles to relax. To find out more take a look at the NHS’ ‘Couch to 5k’ programme

Take it to the courts

Many local authorities maintain public tennis courts which can be pre-booked and enjoyed. Ordinarily you will have to supply your own kit including balls and rackets, however quality equipment will often last a long time and your health is well worth investing in.

Beyond being a social sport, tennis also offers health benefits from supporting the cardiovascular system to strengthening muscles around the body. It’s also a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of age, experience or ability.

The Arthritis Foundation has identified the benefits tennis can have particularly for people suffering from the condition. If you have arthritis, or know someone who has, and want to be more active, the organisation’s information can be found here.

Sticking with tennis, of sorts, there are surprising benefits to be had by playing table tennis. These include improving your leg, arm and core strength without overtaxing joints. The sport, which can be played at various centres around the UK, also burns calories with a 68kg person potentially burning 272 calories by playing the sport for an hour.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Joining a sports team can improve not only your health but your social life as well. There’s a huge selection of sports to enjoy and at any level, such as:

  • 5-a-side football
  • Rugby
  • Netball
  • Hockey
  • Cycling

To find out what’s available near you, simply visit your local sports centre or search online as teams will often have social media accounts detailing where they will be and when.

If you start being more active, you could experience the odd sporting sprain or injury – but fear not! With a cash plan from Sovereign Health Care, you can claim money back on everyday health care expenses including physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic treatment, so the cost of visiting a practitioner doesn’t have to be a barrier to your recovery. To find out more about our cash plan and the wide range of benefits covered, click here.

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