32 sports for beginners that will boost fitness (and are lots of fun)

 32 sports for beginners that will boost fitness collage .
Credit: Future/Getty

Starting a new sport is a great way to improve your general health and fitness and develop useful mental skills like endurance and patience. Plus, you might meet some new friends in the process. 

Whether you want to master surfing for beginners or try swimming as a workout, taking a new sport will enrich your lifestyle. Working out which sport to go for can be daunting if you're a novice, but going in with a positive attitude can make all the difference, according to celebrity personal trainer Scott Harrison. "The key is to stay positive and persistent," he told us. "All sports offer unique benefits and opportunities for growth, making them all great choices for beginners."

When it comes to choosing the right sport, it's important to choose something you enjoy. "Try to choose something that you think you will enjoy, as then you are more likely to stick to it and not procrastinate, or keep putting it off," Harrison explained.

"A positive attitude, understanding that there will be obstacles along the way and an acceptance that everything is an opportunity to learn will go a long way in helping you succeed in your new sport." So where should you start? These are 32 of the best sports for beginners...

32 sports for beginners that will boost fitness

Football

women's football
women's football

There's been a huge movement in women's football with the growing success of England's Lionesses - and its popularity as a sport is growing rapidly. With local clubs around the county, it's easy to get involved and has little in the way of start-up costs to get going.

"With the growing popularity of women's leagues, beginners can find welcoming communities to join and develop their skills at their own pace," celebrity personal trainer Scott Harrison told us. "It's a fantastic team sport that promotes cardiovascular fitness, coordination, motor skills and teamwork."

Darts

Darts
Darts

Once thought of as a sport for the older generations and predominantly men, more women are now taking up darts as a sporty hobby - particularly with the rise of venues like Flight Club across the UK making darts a fun night out. As well as being the ultimate pub game, there are amateur darts clubs across the country specifically geared towards women interested in the sport.

Tennis

Tennis rackets
Tennis rackets

"Tennis is excellent for improving cardiovascular health, strength, and agility. There are so many local clubs, literally in every town and village that will offer beginner lessons, making it an extremely accessible sport," celebrity personal trainer Scott Harrison told us.

Particularly enjoyable in the spring and summer months, a tennis session in the morning or evening is a great way to get your muscles working and bond with a friend or partner.

Cycling

Cycling
Cycling

Taking up cycling opens so many doors, whether it's exploring the sights on holiday on a bicycle or enjoying a ride through your local city. Cycling builds lower body strength as well as being a great cardiovascular workout. Those who want to take it further as a sport can try road bicycle racing, mountain bike racing, track cycling or BMX.

Badminton

Badminton
Badminton

If you're not ready to try tennis or prefer something with a slightly slower pace, badminton is also a great one to try.

"I love Badminton because it’s a fun, low-impact sport that enhances agility, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination," celebrity personal trainer Scott Harrison told us. "It's relatively easy to learn, not expensive to purchase a badminton set and can be played at home in the garden or at most fitness centres."

Bowling

Bowling
Bowling

Bowling is a lot of fun and can be played as a team sport and often comes with other social opportunities, with bowling alleys situated in complexes with restaurants, bars and games machines. Bowling is also a great way to tone up, increasing upper body strength, as well as improving coordination and mental focus.

As celebrity personal trainer Scott Harrison explains, "Bowling is a social and relaxing sport that is great for improving coordination and focus. It’s accessible for all fitness levels and abilities, making it an enjoyable option for beginners no matter what age you are."

Volleyball

Volleyball
Volleyball

The ultimate summer sport, volleyball is a fun and relaxed social sport that's also recognised at the Olympic level and has been a part of the official program of the Summer Olympic Games since Tokyo 1964. As well as having physical benefits and toning the body, volleyball also helps build teamwork, respect and communication.

Swimming

Swimming
Swimming

"Swimming is a full body workout that is of course very low impact. It’s ideal for beginners because it can be tailored to any fitness level, and many community pools offer lessons," celebrity personal trainer Scott Harrison told us.

It's a very inclusive sport and the benefits of swimming go far beyond the physical. As Harrison explains, "Swimming is also great for many disabilities too and we know how therapeutic it is when we connect with water."

Boxing

Boxing
Boxing

Boxing is another sport that's massively grown in popularity over the last decade. "Boxing is a powerful way to build strength, speed, reflexes, stamina, and confidence," Harrison told us.

"Many gyms have beginner-friendly classes that focus on fitness and technique in a supportive environment without the expectation of sparring. Not only is it amazing for the cardiovascular system but crikey it’s a lot of fun too."

Sailing

Sailing
Sailing

Known as one of Kate Middleton's favourite pastimes, sailing may be an expensive sport to take up, but it's an incredible activity that the whole family can enjoy. You don't need to be super fit to get started, but you will need to learn the basics and embark on a training course to get started.

Rock climbing

Rock climbing
Rock climbing

Rock climbing is a physically demanding sport, but it's easier to pick up than you might think. Rock climbing or bouldering regularly increases whole-body strength and endurance - and will improve your general fitness. To get started, visit a local rock climbing wall and book in with a trainer to learn the initial skills.

Golf

Golf
Golf

Golf is an attractive sport for beginners as it allows you to get into the great outdoors and get some eco-therapy while learning a new skill. To get started, book a lesson at a local driving range to learn the basics and then you can later move on to group lessons on a course. Golfing holidays are a great motivation for learning this fun sport.

Surfing

Surfing
Surfing

Surfing is an incredible core work out and has risen in popularity for women in recent years. In coastal towns there are plenty of female-only surfing schools where you can connect with like-minded individuals. While it may be difficult to get the hang of at first, it's a fun skill to learn in the welcoming space of a beginners surf school.

Rugby

Rugby
Rugby

Women's rugby might be a little intimidating, but like netball and football, it's a fun team sport that will build teamwork and has a great social element.

"Rugby is a tough yet great British sport well known for building respect, strength, endurance, and teamwork," celebrity personal trainer Scott Harrison told us. "Many clubs offer beginner programs that focus on learning the game safely and effectively, fostering a strong sense of community."

Open water swimming

Open water swimming
Open water swimming

The benefits of cold-water swimming are clear, with the activity known to boost mental clarity, as well as physical fitness and reduce inflammation in the body.

"A rise in popularity for cold water swimming is taking the world by storm and this anti-inflammatory 'cold therapy' has numerous benefits and that’s physically, mentally and emotionally," celebrity personal trainer Scott Harrison said.

Cricket

Cricket
Cricket

Whatever your age or experience, cricket is a full sport to try and a great low-impact activity. There is some theory and original skills to learn at first, but once you have the basics it comes with a whole host of benefits, including hand-eye co-ordination, strategic thinking and teamwork.

Table tennis

Table tennis
Table tennis

Table tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1988, with categories in both men's and women's singles and it's an easy sport to try for beginners. Plus, mastering table tennis will help you build your skills on the tennis courts too.

Ice skating

Ice skating
Ice skating

Ice skating is a romantic winter activity and can be a fun skill to learn either solo or with a partner. If you learn the basics on the ice, there are more formal sports routes to go down in the fields of figure skating and speed skating - but learning the basics of ice skating first will take some time before getting to this stage.

Archery

Archery
Archery

Archery might all seem a bit daunting at first, but once you learn the basics it needn't be intimidating. Safety is obviously a big concern, so it's important to only try this activity under the guidance of a professional.

Skiing

Skiing
Skiing

Learning to ski opens up the opportunity for ski trips that will leave you with lasting memories as well as feeling more physically in shape. Skiing can be a little bit daunting at first, but anyone can learn at any age.

Gymnastics

Gymnastics
Gymnastics

Many of us learned the basics of gymnastics in our school days, but haven't tried it since. Gymnastics can vary from easy-to-learn basics to more complicated routines, but all types of gymnastics improve balance, flexibility and agility.

Netball

Netball
Netball

Netball is a team sport that's particularly popular with women and can be picked up in any stage of life. Netball has a great social element too, with regular meet-ups usually a regular occurrence within team life. You can practice solo on a court when matches aren't on to build up your ball skills before joining a team.

Lacrosse

Lacrosse
Lacrosse

Lacrosse is a great full-body workout that comes with all the benefits of a team sport, like a new community and regular social interaction. The nature of the sport means it requires constant movement, which is great for all-over toning. As well as boosting fitness levels, lacrosse is a mental challenge that will build strategic thinking and mental focus.

Skateboarding

Skateboarding
Skateboarding

Skateboarding is a fun option for anyone who wants to try a solo sport, but it can also be a fulfilling group activity if you head down to a skate park once you've mastered the basics. Skateboarding builds core strength and balance and there's no end to the tricks you can learn - a good option for those who don't want a sport with rigid rules.

Hockey

Hockey
Hockey

Like lacrosse, hockey requires constant movement making it a great way to break a sweat while enjoying a team sport. There are plenty of hockey starter courses across the UK that teach the basis of Field Hockey over a short period so you build up to joining a team.

Diving

Diving
Diving

Scuba diving or free diving are thrilling water sports that anyone can try. While it might look intimidating, the first step of diving is to learn in a swimming pool rather than the sea, gradually building up to more complicated dives. As long as you can swim 200m using any stroke and float/tread water for 10 minutes you're able to learn - and the PADI open water course is the most recognised.

Trampolining

Trampolining
Trampolining

Trampolining may sound like an activity for kids - but it's actually a seriously recognised sport as well. The sport entails acrobatic movements performed after rebounding into the air from the trampoline. While that might sound intimidating for beginners, learning the basics on a trampoline is a fun starting point and will boost fitness.

Basketball

Basketball
Basketball

Another brilliant team sport to try is basketball, which makes a faster-paced alternative to netball. The rules are relatively simple and allows you to get outside onto a court in the warmer months, with the option to go indoors when winter hits.

Cross-country running

Cross-country running
Cross-country running

Running is a popular fitness activity as it has no start-up costs (apart from running shoes) and for those who want to take it to the next level, joining a cross-country running group will help build new social connections as well as boost fitness - and is a great way to introduce more time in nature into your week.

Acrobatics

Acrobatics
Acrobatics

There are so many different acrobatics to choose from aerial skills to mastering the pole or hoop. This requires some specialist equipment, so it's best to join a local acrobatics school to learn the ropes - plus these can be great places to meet people socially and be part of a team. Strength training and exercises that help with balance, like yoga, can be a great way to improve while you're learning the skills.

Weightlifting

Weight lifting
Weight lifting

With the rise of fitness clubs like CrossFit, weightlifting has become a popular activity for women. The physical benefits are clear, as one of the most effective ways to build muscle mass and increase strength - plus weight lifting clubs like CrossFit often have an active social scene.

Jiujitsu

Jiujitsu
Jiujitsu

Jiujitsu is a modern martial arts discipline that originated in Japan. Built on the principles of self-defence and martial arts, it's a mindful practice that will build confidence as well as increase physical strength.

Scott Harrison is a celebrity personal trainer, nutrition expert & founder of the acclaimed fitness programme The Six Pack Revolution. His Sunday Times bestseller Eat Your Way to a Six Pack is out now.