For some people competition is a defining element of sport – so is it possible to have non-competitive sports? I guess that depends on your personal definition. For some people the definition of sport has widened to include all physical activity and this broader definition is great for people who find the idea of competition daunting.
Non-competitive activities are great opportunities to develop physical abilities and their non-competitive nature certainly doesn’t mean that they are less demanding or easier than the competitive varieties. Luckily there are loads of non-competitive sports that everyone can participate in – here are just a few.
Archery: Don’t underestimate the physical demands of archery. It builds strength, balance, core strength, endurance, co-ordination and focus.
Canoeing/Kayaking: These are great low impact activities that can improve aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility.
Climbing: Climbing builds lean strong muscles, core and upper body strength, mental strength requiring the patience and planning and is a great social activity that builds communication and trust.
Cycling: Another low impact sport with many physical and mental benefits. It gives the heart a good workout, helps the environment and can be a very social activity.
Dancing: Who said exercise can’t be fun? There are loads of dance styles to choose from – ballet for adults, belly dancing, Latin-American dancing, hip hop, square dancing and tap.
Fishing: Recreational fishing is a very healthy outdoor activity that can relieve stress and anxiety and provide a yummy dinner.
Hiking/Backpacking: Hiking has plenty to offer – great views, fresh air, nature. It’s also a great cardio workout, can boost bone density, strengthen the core, improve balance, help control weight and improve mental health. Hiking in a group is a great way to meet people.
Martial Arts: There are plenty of physical and psychological benefits of martial arts training. The physical training builds strength, flexibility, reflexes, balance and core strength. The psychological benefits include building a healthy self esteem and self respect. Martial arts give you the added benefit of self defence techniques.
Scuba Diving: Scuba diving on a regular basis can maintain general fitness and stamina levels. Exercising in water has a natural resistance which helps build strength and tone, especially in the back. Being in water can also be very mentally calming. Working in a buddy system means diving can also have great social benefits.
Skateboarding: Skateboarding is a great fitness activity if you don’t mind hanging out with the kids. It works out the whole body, builds endurance and teaches precision, balance and co-ordination. The skills learnt in skateboarding may also improve your surfing or snowboarding skills.
Snorkelling: For people with joint pain or limited mobility water activities can be very beneficial. Snorkelling can be great for the heart and for strengthening muscles as it is a whole body workout. The controlled breathing required for snorkeling is said to be similar to many of the meditative breathing techniques that seek to relax and calm the body, so snorkeling can also be good for mental health.
Surfing: Surfing builds cardio fitness, whole body strength, balance and co-ordination. Many people experience significant mental health benefits from being in nature as well.
Swimming: Swimming is a wonderful low impact exercise that builds strength and endurance. Many people with breathing conditions find that swimming helps and the weightlessness of being in water means no stress on joints.