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33 Types of Sports – And Which Is Best for You

Eine Gruppe von Menschen macht CrossFit
Fitness Editor
Dominic is a sports journalist and personal trainer and writes fitness articles for our magazine. He also makes free workout plans for our site.

If you’re trying to exercise more, but aren’t sure which physical activity to choose, look no further. In this article, we explain everything you need to know about the different types of sports out there, and give you the tips and tools to figure out which one is best for you. From martial arts to combat sports and everything in between (yes, even table tennis), check out our list of sports for 33 types of sports to choose from!

As a quick disclaimer, some of these sports may currently be off the table due to public health restrictions to restrict the spread of COVID-19. Please only perform sports that conform to your area’s most current COVID restrictions.

Endurance sports

A white man and a white woman go jogging on a beach with a clear blue sky behind them.
©Studio Firma

Running

Who is it for? People who are interested in cardio or want to lose weight.
What are its effects? Improves cardiovascular health and endurance abilities.
Description: Running is exactly what it sounds like. In general, the best way to get into it is a little bit at a time. Gradually increase the distance, speed, or amount of time you run so you’re always pushing your limits.

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Swimming

Who is it for? People who enjoy water or suffer from joint pain and are looking for a low-impact physical activity.
What are its effects? Improved endurance levels, strength, and shoulder mobility. Also great for weight loss.
Description: Swimming involves numerous different techniques. It involves a big effort because of the resistance created by the water. Unlike running, it’s gentle on the joints, which is why it’s considered to be a low-impact sport.

Cycling

Who is it for? Nature lovers will especially enjoy cycling. It’s also ideal for people with joint problems.
What are its effects? Improved cardiovascular health and endurance abilities. Strengthened leg muscles.
Description: Cycling is a lot like running in that it’s good to start slow and gradually increase distance, speed, and workout length over time.

Hiking and walking

Who is it for? Nature lovers will also find this sport appealing. It’s also great for people who like to use exercise as a way to relax and unwind.
What are its effects? Improved cardiovascular health.
Description: It’s possible to hike even if you don’t have access to a mountain or forest. If this is the case for you, a sport like Nordic walking may be just what you’re looking for.

 

Strength Training Sports

Two shirtless white men and two white women in sports bras inside a gym. One of the men lifts a weighted barbell above his head.
©svetikd

Functional Training

Who is it for? For people who want to improve their ability to perform day-to-day movements.
What are its effects? Improved strength, endurance levels, mobility, and coordination.
Description: Functional training includes exercises that replicate the movements of everyday life. It can strengthen your upper body and abdominal muscles.

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Bodybuilding

Who is it for? For perfectionists and highly disciplined people who care about every detail.
What are its effects? Strengthens and develops every muscle while also reducing body fat.
Description: This activity involves numerous weight and machine workouts. It also includes core exercises that train multiple muscles at once, as well as targeted workouts that focus on each muscle independently.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

Who is it for? For experienced athletes that want to push themselves to their limits.
What are its effects? Fat burning and improved muscle strength.
Description: Workouts consist of short intervals in which you work your absolute hardest, either with body weight or equipment. Each interval is followed by a short break.

Team Sports

Handball

Who is it for? This team sport is ideal for sociable people. Unlike contact sports like rugby, this one is performed mainly with the hands and upper body.
What are its effects? Improved endurance abilities. It strengthens the upper body.
Description: Each game is played with a team of seven players. The aim is to score as many goals as possible.
A grimacing white man jumps above opposing team members while playing handball, one of many types of sports to try out
©skynesher

Football

Who is it for? Football is another great team sport for sociable people. Football fans will also love this one.
What are its effects? Improved endurance abilities. Strengthens the lower body.
Description: Each football game is played by two teams of 11 players. The aim is to score as many goals as possible.

Rugby

Who is it for? This contact sport is perfect for sociable people that also don’t mind getting a little dirty.
What are its effects? Improved endurance abilities. Strengthens the entire body.
Description: Each game is played with a team of 15 players. There are several different ways to score goals.

Basketball

Who is it for? For people who enjoy team sports and love to shoot hoops.
What are its effects? Improved endurance abilities, reaction time, and coordination.
Description: Each game is played between two teams of five players. Players control the ball with their hands and try to throw it into the opposing teams net.

Hockey

Who is it for? This team sport is great for people who prefer to play with a stick rather than their hands or feet.
What are its effects? Improves leg, upper body, and lower body strength. Endurance abilities also improve.
Description: This sport can be played both inside and outside depending on the season. The rules vary whether you’re playing on a blacktop or on ice. Once again, the aim of the game is to score the most goals.

Volleyball

Who is it for? For people who enjoy team sports but don’t like to run around a lot.
What are its effects? Strengthens the legs and butt and improves posture.
Description: Each game is played between two teams of six players. Players are separated by a net. Holding the ball is off limits—it must be thrown back or bounced to another teammate immediately.

Racquet sports

Tennis

Who is it for? Ideal for competitive people. This sport requires good shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle strength.
What are its effects? Improved endurance abilities, coordination, reaction time, and knee stability.
Description: This game can be played between two solitary people, or in teams of two. The goal is to shoot the ball back to the other side every time. If your opponent fails to return the ball, the point is yours.
The leg and arm of an athlete are visible as they hold a tennis racquet to pick up a tennis ball from a red clay court with the net visible nearby.
©Bobex-73

Table Tennis

Who is it for? Table tennis is ideal for all ages.
What are its effects? Improved hand-eye coordination.
Description: Table tennis is a lot like regular tennis, but on a much smaller scale. You’ll need to move much less but the exchanges will be much faster.

Badminton

Who is it for? Best for those who like to exercise quietly.
What are the effects? Improves reaction time and cardiovascular health.
Description: As in tennis, players are separated by a net, but this time the net is placed much higher up. Instead of a ball, you’ll play with a shuttlecock that should never touch the ground. If it does, the point goes to your opponent.

Individual sports

A view from above of an athlete of color with arms outstretched, left leg bent to the front and right leg extended behind them on a red track surface.
©PaulBradbury

Track and Field

Who is it for? Track and field is great for team sport and solo sport lovers.
What are its effects? While each activity is short, they involve an explosive amount of strength and force.
Description: Track activities include sprints of several different distances (100m, 200m, and 400m) as well as shotput, long jump, and hurdle.

Gymnastics

Who is it for? People who like to learn new movements, maintain certain postures, or simply control their body.
What are its effects? Strengthens the entire body. Improves flexibility and coordination.
Description: In gymnastics, you’ll learn to do all kinds of impressive tricks and movements, from simple somersaults and handstands to back flips.

Yoga

Who is it for? For anyone that wants to relax, unwind, and get in touch with their body.
What are its effects? Strengthens the entire body, improves self control and flexibility. Can also make it easier to relax and unwind.
Description: In yoga, you’ll learn how to control your breath, listen to your body, and consciously relax your muscles.

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Dance

A white woman with tousled, long curly hair does a dance move indoors in front of a mirror in a sports studio.
©vgajic

Zumba

Who is it for? For people who like fast and sensual movements. It can be practiced in a group or solo, depending on your preference.
What are its effects? Improves cardiovascular health. It can also help you feel more confident in your skin.
Description: Zumba is usually a group sport. In a class, a teacher will present the movements for participants to recreate.

Ballroom Dancing

Who is it for? Ideal for all ages. Great for couples or meeting new people.
What are its effects? Creates a liberating feeling. Reduces stress. Improves cardiovascular health.
Description: With a partner, you’ll learn different dance steps and movements. It requires concentration and the ability to adapt to your partner’s movements.

Breakdancing

Who is it for? For people who already have a knack for dancing and movement or want to improve their abilities.
What are its effects? Strengthens the entire body. Improves flexibility and coordination.
Description: Most breakdance movements are executed on the ground and follow each other in quick succession. Gymnastics experience is a plus.

Hip-Hop

Who is it for? Great for experienced dancers and beginners alike.
What are its effects? Improves coordination, flexibility, and endurance abilities.
Description: Hip-hop is a style of dance that’s usually performed to hip-hop music. It’s a great group or solo sport.

 

Combat Sports

Two shirtless white men wear boxing gloves in a ring.
©GCShutter

Judo

Who is it for? Judo is one of the most practiced martial arts in the world because it’s great for everyone. It’s especially great for anyone that wants to learn to control their body weight.
What are its effects? Improved strength, endurance abilities, and flexibility. Builds self-confidence through discipline, self-control, and self-respect.
Description: This sport will teach you how to take your opponent down using judo holds. Kicking or stepping on each other is strictly forbidden.

Boxing

Who is it for? For anyone that wants to let off steam and get their adrenaline pumping. Also great for anyone that’s trying to overcome their fears..
What are its effects? Boxing improves muscular endurance and speed. It can also be beneficial for mental health and self-confidence.
Description: Various techniques are designed to help you defeat your opponent, whether by scoring points or knocking them out. Even if you only use your fists, a boxing match can be extremely exhausting because it requires a lot of muscular endurance.

Kick Boxing

Who is it for? For anyone that wants to box with their feet in addition to their fists.
What are its effects? Like in boxing, mental and muscular endurance will get the most training. Mobility also plays an important role.
Description: In kickboxing, you are free to use kicks or shin-kicks to defeat your opponent.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

Who is it for? For anyone that wants to combine skills from multiple martial arts.
What are its effects? Improves endurance abilities, speed, mobility, strength, coordination, and focus.
Description: MMA combines many different fighting techniques from all over the world. In it, you’ll use kicks, punches, judo or wrestling holds, and ju-jitsu techniques in order to defeat your opponent.

Krav Maga

Who is it for? For people who aren’t competitive but still want to learn how to defend themselves.
What are its effects? Reinforces self-confidence.
Description: This sport will teach you to defend yourself in various situations. The focus is less on strength and more on defending yourself and reacting quickly.

Adventure Sports

Two white men on a beach in long wetsuits carrying a surfboard. Surfing is one of many types of sports to choose from for outdoors enjoyment.
©arnaud-mesureur

Water Sports: Wakeboarding and Water Skiing

Who is it for? For people who love water and going fast. If you like to feel free when you workout, water sports might be right for you.

 

What are its effects? Strengthens the entire body. Improves posture and knee stability.
Description: Both water skiing and wakeboarding involve standing on boards in the water and require a lot of balance.

Winter Sports: Ski & Snowboard

Who is it for? For those that love the mountains, aren’t afraid of the cold, and enjoy exercising outside, even in the snow.
What are its effects? As is the case with water sports, these winter sports will improve balance and stability. They’ll also improve knee strength.
Description: These sports involve sliding down a snowy mountainside on boards. Staying balanced and being able to react quickly are of the utmost importance.

Urban Sports

A shirtless white person with a flat chest is seen from behind doing a pull-up outdoors.
©milan2099

Calisthenics

Who is it for? Great for people who live in big cities and those who enjoy acrobatics. Aso ideal for anyone who wants to develop muscle strength and body control.
What are its effects? Improves strength, mobility, and self-control.
Description: This training involves both static and dynamic exercise on different kinds of bars (fixed, parallel, vertical, and horizontal). It’s usually practiced in a fitness park.

Parkour

Who is it for? Great for hyperactive city dwellers that like to use their urban surroundings as a playground. Also ideal for people who enjoy climbing or acrobatics.
What are its effects? Parkour allows you to have better control over your body. Strengthens coordination and improves jumping abilities.
Description: Parkour can be performed in most major cities. The aim is to dodge different obstacles by running, climbing, or jumping over them. With time and experience, you’ll be able to incoroprate more acrobatics into your training.

Skateboarding

Who is it for? For city-dwellers that like to move around on boards but aren’t near the sea or mountains.
What are its effects? Improves coordination.
Description: This sport is practiced on a board with four wheels. You can do it in skateparks or anywhere with a flat surface to ride on. Over time, you’ll be able to incorporate more tricks into your practice.

 

Summary

  • There are so many different types of sports to choose from.
  • What’s important is finding one that matches your desires (team or individual sport, for example)
  • If you have a specific fitness goal, try to choose an activity that matches your objective (strength or endurance)
  • You’ll also need to take your geographical setting into account (city or open spaces; sea or mountain)
  • If you prefer to train at home, we offer straightforward, at-home workouts to suit just about any goal.
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