Most South Africans have more free time on their hands in December. Summer is the ideal time to relax and recoup after a frenetic 2017. Rather than relaxing by completely vegetating, why not enjoy these summer sports as a healthy alternative. Your body will thank you – and so will your psyche.
Because water is twelve times denser than air, each stroke and kick is a form of resistance training which improves your muscle tone and bone density. Swimming is also a wonderful way to cool down in summer.
The physical nature of sailing – from pulling and hoisting the sails to balancing on the boat – strengthens the muscles all over your body. Hand-eye coordination and motor skills are improved, as is your flexibility and agility. Sailing can also improve your cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of hypertension, obesity and other heart illness. Salty sea air contains charged ions that aid in the body’s oxygen absorption. This balances your body’s serotonin levels – a key component in feelings of happiness.
An aerobic sport, tennis stimulates and strengthens your heart and lungs which improves your body’s use of oxygen, thereby lowering your resting heart rate and blood pressure. Just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. A further benefit, if you need convincing, tennis increases your reaction times.
Playing cricket improves your endurance, stamina, physical fitness, and hand-eye coordination. Because cricket involves short spurts of sprinting, it is good for your cardiovascular health. Cricket also develops team skills.
Dancing is the most fun way to build up a healthy sweat and get your heart pumping. The mental benefits speak for themselves – just look at the faces of those dancing around you!
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