Playing any sport can be pretty tough on your body, but are all sports as hard as each other? Although it might upset some people, it is pretty safe to say that some sports are more athletic than others.
Being athletic can mean lots of different things. Some people think it is being quick, while other people will say it’s being strong. We are going to look at sports which use a mix of different skills and abilities. Running a sprint and a marathon are both completely different, but they are both very athletic.
Basketball is one of the most athletic sports you can take part in. Yes, we admit that some players seem like they are not quite at the top of the physical elite. But the good ones are some of the fittest people around. All that combined with some of the tallest athletes around makes for some pretty formidable players. Watching them play in close proximity is something else to behold.
Basketball is a super fast game and players are required to do an extreme amount of jumping, running, and changing direction in a split second, all pretty exhausting.
Any sport that players try to knock each other over and steal the ball at the same time as running is going to need a decent level of strength and skill, which makes rugby one of the most demanding physical sports. They have to take part in scrums and also do lots of running up and down the pitch, not for the faint-hearted!
Tennis players are widely regarded as some of the fittest, most agile athletes in the sporting world. Tennis is a brutal match between two players, played out on a choice of various surfaces. One of the reasons tennis is so demanding on its players is that the games don’t have a set duration. Instead, games can go on and on until one player has the necessary advantage to be declared the winner. The longest game was almost 12 hours, which is just mind boggling!
If you have ever seen a soccer pitch in real life, you have probably marvelled at the stamina needed by soccer players to run around it for such a long time, with some games over 2 hours! And it’s not just stamina that players need to have. They also need to be speedy and agile.
Any sport that is made up of more than one discipline is going to be hard work! Triathletes are required to compete in 3 disciplines, making it one of the most athletic sports you can take part in.
When competing on a standard course, triathletes begin with a casual 1.5km swim. They then jump out of the water and straight onto a bike to cycling an imposing 40km course. And that’s not it! They then have to run a breezy 10km to finally reach the finish line. Any of these alone is an impressive feat, but in succession? That’s something next level. Any athlete that can take part in such a varied event has to be in peak fitness.
It probably isn’t a surprise that boxing features on this list. Professional boxers train for hours every day to make sure they are at the top of their game. Each round in a boxing match is actually relatively short at a maximum of 3 minutes, with the maximum being 12 rounds. The quick burst of energy that makes boxers so fit.
Hockey is a fast-paced game that also demands a high level of skill to play successfully. The prime surface means that the ball travels incredibly quickly across the pitch, which is almost 100m in length.
Hockey matches are 70 minutes long, and we think this is a long time to keep running from one end of the pitch to the other! Using a hockey stick to hit a ball accurately at speeds requires some pretty good agility.
MMA is arguably the most physically demanding sport you can put yourself through. Even watching it feels pretty exhausting if you ask us! With an almost ‘anything goes’ approach, fighters battle in matches that are a whopping 5 minutes, and can use a mixture of kicking, punching, and leg grabbing. And as if that isn’t tough enough, fighters also have to keep out of reach of their opponents or risk serious damage.
Professional cycling has had a bit of a bad rap recently. We have all seen the headlines about the pro-cyclists who have been found guilty of taking drugs, stripped of their title and fallen from sporting grace. However, there are still some cyclists out there doing it the good and honest way, and they are some pretty neat athletes.
The Tour de France (and lots of other races) sees entrants compete EVERY DAY for 21 days. And each day is usually an eye-watering 6 hours. The race is made up individual races which can be on a range of terrains. One day they may me hauling themselves up a mountain in the Alps, and the next they might by sprinting on a quick flat course.
Badminton probably isn’t the first sport that comes to mind when you are thinking about athleticism. But anyone who has ever played it knows it needs lightening quick reflexes to beat your opponent.
The court is miniscule compared to some of the courts and pitches on our list, measuring a little 6m x 7m. Despite this small playing area, the shuttlecock isn’t ambling slowly around. Some players have such impressive hits that they can hit their target despite it flying around at 180mph. The agility and precision required to excel at this sport make sure it features on our list.
If you are looking for a sport to push your body to its limits, any of these sports are a great start. However, all sport is good for you, so you can always just pick something you enjoy!