Swimming also tones muscles and builds strength.
Tokyo 2020 is fully underway and there are many Olympic sports on show that can help anyone build their fitness.
There are 41 different sports to watch but a selection of those can be practised by people of all ages and abilities in order to build fitness.
These sports, when incorporated into a fitness regime, have physical benefits such as improved cardio and weight loss.
But they also benefit mental health.
Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.
Exercise has also been found to alleviate things such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.
With numerous benefits associated with sports, here are five Olympic sports in order to boost fitness.
One of the most beneficial Olympic sports to build fitness is swimming.
There are numerous events on show, with swimmers doing freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly.
For many people, it is a great recreational activity but at the same time, it provides a total-body workout.
You build your body’s ability to provide large amounts of oxygen to your muscles and respiratory system, thus increasing cardiovascular fitness and endurance.
It is also a great low impact exercise, benefitting people with arthritis and joint pain.
The variety of strokes mean you can vary which muscle groups you want to work on.
Swimming also tones muscles and builds strength.
In addition to the physical benefits, swimming can also relax you and reduce stress.
At the same time, practising each stroke helps to improve coordination, balance and posture.
This Olympic sport comes with so many health benefits, it is a no-brainer to incorporate it into your workout.
Given the warm weather, it is even more of an option because it provides a pleasant way to cool down.
A triathlon seems like a daunting Olympic sport but it is effective in building fitness.
While the Olympic event is long-distance, you can do a triathlon at a distance you feel comfortable doing.
Bringing together swimming, running and cycling to form one race, a triathlon improves physical and mental health.
Crosstraining in different areas helps create muscle confusion. This is the process of not letting the muscles adapt to workouts.
This results in visible gains in muscle mass and loss in body fat.
Triathlons also reduce blood pressure while boosting cardiovascular and endurance fitness.
Triathlons also reduce the risk of injuries. Unlike conventional workouts that usually focus on specific body parts, the holistic approach of a triathlon distributes the workload to more body parts.
As a result, your body is less likely to experience local injuries or pain.
This is in comparison to an hour of cycling on its own, which will drive the pain solely to your legs.
Combining swimming, cycling and running into one workout a couple of times a week, you will see significant fitness benefits.
Boxing is an exciting Olympic sport to watch as both men and women in different weight classes compete for Olympic glory.
But for those looking to build fitness, boxing can add several new levels.
Boxing fitness classes are available that involves throwing punches in the air or at a punching bag.
One type of class involves a series of moves choreographed to upbeat music while the other involves strength training.
Nevertheless, they can build fitness.
A major benefit is that it builds strength. Physical therapist Linda Arslanian says:
“You’re swinging your arms, moving the muscles of your arms and shoulders, increasing your upper-body strength.
“And when you’re in the boxer crouch with a wide stance, with your knees slightly bent, you’re strengthening your core muscles, back, and legs.”
Fitness boxing is also a good aerobic exercise. This gets the heart pumping and helps lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
It can also boost endurance.
On the mental side, going to fitness boxing classes improves self-confidence.
For those with busy work schedules, putting on some gloves and hitting a punching bag is a simple way to relieve stress.
Track events are perhaps the most popular events at the Olympics.
From the 100m to the 10,000m, the variety of races have sports enthusiasts on the edge of their seats as they eagerly see who will come out on top.
The different race lengths can also be incorporated into one’s training regime.
You should opt for the right distance depending on what you want to achieve.
Short-distance sprints help to build up the fast-twitch muscle fibres.
It is also a fast way to burn calories.
In just two and a half minutes of intense sprinting, you can burn up to 200 calories. This is in comparison to burning 100 calories in 10 minutes of relaxed running.
Longer distances involve a more measured approach to running but it boosts cardio and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
What makes this Olympic sport such an effective fitness method is that you can do it almost anywhere, whether it be in a park or on the street.
No matter your choice, you will feel that rush of endorphins once you’ve pushed your body to new levels.
Weightlifting appears to be one of the more intimidating Olympic sports.
Athletes attempt a maximum weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weight plates.
But when it comes to fitness, weight training is the way to go.
Doing reps whilst gradually increasing the weight improves muscular strength within a specific muscle or muscle group.
This promotes increased muscle mass and bone strength.
Weight training also burns calories, helping to lose weight and keeping it off permanently.
This is because weight training boosts excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, meaning that it keeps your metabolism active even after exercising.
Like all exercises, weight training increases endorphins and subsequently improves mood.
But weight training specifically offers further benefits.
According to a meta-analysis of 33 clinical trials published in JAMA Psychiatry in June 2018, weight training was found to be a legitimate treatment option (or add-on treatment) to reduce symptoms of depression.
Weight training is good for people of all ages and fitness levels, not just bodybuilders.
If you do not have a gym membership or a set of weights, there is nothing to worry about.
Exercise physiologist Neal Pire says:
“Squatting on a chair at home, pushups, planks, or other movements that require you to use your own bodyweight as resistance can be very effective.”
These five Olympic sports boost fitness in different areas and can be practised to the intensity you feel comfortable at.
While some boost cardiovascular fitness, others promote muscular strength.
Nevertheless, whatever fitness goals you’re looking to achieve, these sports will help.
The ongoing Olympics and seeing elite athletes compete in these sports may even inspire you to take them up.
So, if you are looking to increase fitness, incorporate these Olympic sports into your workout regimes.