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Which sport is best to tone certain parts of your body? Coach and fitness expert Sam Murphy gives a guide...
Looking to take up a new sporty hobby, but don’t know where to start? Tackle your problem areas with a sport tailored for you.
We all have our insecurities – but hard work, dedication and a little passion can easily change that. And we all know the power that a a new hobby has – it will boost your wellbeing, and if you choose a sporty one, will help you lose the pounds without even noticing.
Whatever your weak spot is, there’s a sport to tackle it. From the everyday workout that will give you thighs of steel to the sport you can take up with your other half to whittle your waist, click through to find your newest figure fixer…
Go for golf
To whittle waists
Why? Golf is great for building core strength, trimming the waist and toning arms and legs.
Tips Head to a driving range to master your swing.carry or pull your own bag to burn more calories.
Body bonus It’s excellent for strengthening the trunk, plus hours spent in the fresh air in a beautiful setting is a good stress buster.
Watch out for Straining the lower back. Learn the correct posture from a coach. As gold is asymmetrical, stretch and strengthen the other side of the body too, to prevent imbalances.
Get started See getintogolf.org for beginners’ courses and taster days.
Also consider Kayaking and beach volleyball.
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For steely thighs
Why? Cycling works every muscle below the belt, but the thighs do the lion's share of the work.
Tips Short, frequent rides will get you accustomed to bring back in the saddle. Set the gears so you can turn the pedals fairly quickly without too much resistance to avoid stressing the knees.
Body bonus Cycling might be low impact, but it burns 500 calories an hour and a moderate 12-14mph pace.
Watch out for Traffic. Always wear high-vis clothing and a helmet.
Get started If you're rusty, start on traffic-free trails. Many councils offer free cycling proficiency class's for adults, see bikeability.org
Also consider Trail running, hiking.
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For sleeker upper arms
Why? The full extension of the arm at the at the back of the pole swing engages the underused tricep muscles, banishing bingo wings.
Tips Use Nordic walking poles, which are longer and more flexible than hiking poles. Don't trip too hard with hands and let the torso and upper body rotate naturally as you slide.
Body bonus Nordic Walking burns 20 percent more energy than brisk walking without poles.
Watch out for Poor technique will reduce calorie expenditure.
Get started There are free trials along with regular classes and courses, see nordicwalking.co.uk
Also consider Swimming (front crawl)m kayaking
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For shapely arms
Why? Swimming is a great all-rounder, but also works the upper body, giving that strong, sexy V-shape. Open water is especially good as there are no lane joggers, splashing kids or turning every 25m, so you can get into a steady rhythm.
Tips Mix up your stroked for the greatest benefits. Front crawl and backstroke are the best up-top toners.
Body bonus The support of the water makes swimming kind to joints.
Watch out for Build confidence in a pool before trying wild swimming. Avoid swimming in open water alone.
Get started Locate lidos, rivers, lakes and sea swims at wildswim.com.
Also consider Racquet sports, rowing, kayaking.
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For a firmer bottom
Why? Lunging, reaching and sprinting means your gluteus (bottom muscles) are rarely let off the hook.
Tips keep moving around the court and tag ten minutes with a ball machine on to each session to improve coordination, hitting skills and fitness.
Body bonus Tennis provides a great aerobic workout.
Watch out for Tennis elbow - inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. Avoid by resisting too sudden an introduction or return to play.
Get started Sign up to a beginner or refresher course (lta.org.uk). Find free public courts at tennis for free.com
Also consider Nordic walking, hiking, frisbee.
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Try one of these instead…
Skipping An intensive aerobic workout that's great for toning arms, strengthening legs and shoulders, boosting bone density and improving coordination, a leather rope with removable 150g weights is £12.99 at physicalcompany.co.uk
Hula hoop Not only a fantastic way to whittle waists and mobilise the spine, but a half-hour class with a weighted hoop burns 210 calories. Search 'hula hooping' at freeindex.co.uk for classes or buy your own at powerhoop.co.uk; £44.99 inc. DVD
Trampolining Bouncing provides a good aerobic workout without overstressing the ankles and knees. Try the Body Sculpture Aerobic bounce, £34, Amazon.co.uk