By Matt Evans
You're probably tried some of the most common forms of workouts, such as running, resistance training with weights, or even walking for weight loss. but often, we find that we just can't find a form of exercise we enjoy, making us less likely to work out at all.
Social scientists from Bangor University and the University of Rochester found "a positive relation between more autonomous forms of motivation and exercise," which indicates that finding an activity you enjoy is a more powerful motivation to work out and get fit than doing exercise for its own sake.
Choosing a sport or a hobby you enjoy, that requires physical exertion, in one of the most reliable ways to keep you fit – but if you're not a fan of five-a-side soccer and you've tried a lot of the "traditional" forms of exercise, it might be time to try some of these alternative workouts.
Nutrition company MyProtein examined some of the most popular alternative sports in the US. Surprisingly, fencing and curling (the winter sport) came top of the heap, with over one million searches in the US each.
Both sports requires explosive movements, building strength in your core and legs. Lunges in fencing are particularly good for exercising your glutes and hamstrings – the same reason people are taught how to do lunges in many exercise classes today. Both disciplines also require quick reflexes and co-ordination, so you can parry your opponent's foil or position yourself quickly on the ice. Want to give them a try? The USA fencing and USA curling federations can be found here.
Other sports include Quidditch, the fictional sport made popular in the Harry Potter books and movies. It's been transformed into a real-life game resembling netball while holding a broom between your legs. It's a bit safer than the fictional version, as your feet are on the ground at all times.
Archery came fourth, kayaking came sixth and rock climbing came ninth. All three sports require pulling motions which build strength in your back, arms, hands and core. Grip strength is considered a predictor of good cardiovascular health according to Harvard University, so these sports could help you live longer and protect your heart.
Other alternative workouts include surfing, which is great for your core due to the twists and turns your body must take on the board, hula-hooping (a great one for those looking how to get a slim waist) and jump rope, which is also one of the best exercises for weight loss you can do. Jump ropes or skipping ropes are very cheap and it's easy to get started: all you need is a small outdoor space, or somewhere with a high ceiling. The full list can be found below:
- Fencing, 1020000 searches
- Curling, 1020000 searches
- Quidditch, 660000 searches
- Archery, 648000 searches
- Kayaking, 600000 searches
- Roller skating, 492000 searches
- BMX, 456000 searches
- Skiing, 456000 searches
- Rock climbing, 420000 searches
- Surfing, 408000 searches
- Jump rope, 396000 searches
- Hula hoop, 336000 searches
- Handball, 324000 searches
- Sailing, 312000 searches
- Snowboarding, 288000 searches
- White water rafting, 264000 searches
- Table tennis, 264000 searches
- Canoeing, 192000 searches
- Mountain biking, 180000 searches
- Pole dancing,180000 searches
How to use Strava - plus is the fitness app any good?
Wondering how to use Strava? Allow us to break down the activity tracking and analysis app for you...
By Howard Calvert •
This man was bullied for being fat in high school, so he spent years getting ripped
Weight loss Queensland's Anthony Bayer overcame food addiction and a sedentary lifestyle to turn his health around
By Matt Evans •
"I will treasure this feeling forever": meet our Trainer of the Year!
Awards 47-year-old Emma Goodman-Horne was crowned Fit&Well's Trainer of the Year from a 70-strong longlist
By Stephanie Wood •
Fitbit Versa deals: Great offers on Fitbit's top multi-model smartwatch range
Deals Get Fitbit Versa 3, Versa 2 and Versa Lite – the ultimate fitness watch for style and features - at the best price
By Rob Clymo •
7 celebrity fitness secrets from over 50s: Barack Obama, Halle Berry & more
Fitness From Halle Berry to Barack Obama and Michelle Pfeiffer, steal the fitness secrets of celebrities
By Claire Fox •
How to get rid of aches, back pain and bad posture in 20 minutes a day
Fitness Simple stretching exercises are the best way to ditch bad posture and fix back pain, according to experts
By Matt Evans •
Best treadmill: The top indoor running machines for home gyms
Buying guide Our list of the best treadmills for you, from beginners to seasoned runners
By Lee Bell •
Best rowing machine: Top rowers to burn fat and tone your whole body
Buying Guide The best rowing machine offers both cardio and a full body workout, all in one machine
By Chris Smith •
Low-impact exercises: The best joint-friendly workouts for you
Fitness Joints hurting? These low-impact exercises allow you to workout without enduring the pain
By Lucy Gornall •
Best bicep workouts: How to tone your muscles and get bigger arms fast
Fitness Some of the best bicep workouts to net you a stronger, more defined set of guns
By Leon Poultney •