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Unless you’re a professional, playing a sport doesn’t have to be all about winning. For most of us, winning is a nice bonus, but because we’re long past thinking we’ll make it to the pros, we want our summer sports to be fun. There’s no better time to try a new sport than the summer, and it’s easy to find like-minded people also out for a good time. Here are the top 10 summer sports that’ll keep you in shape while having fun.
When you think of volleyball, you may think of seven-foot-tall men smashing balls into your face. Think again. The majority of us aren’t that tall, which means your local volleyball rec league is probably full of people more in tune with your skill set. This sport is played year-round, but it’s best in the summer on the beach. The game itself is good exercise, but playing in the sand is a challenging workout for your calves, thighs and glutes. Plus, beach volleyball’s scenery is top-notch, if you catch our drift.
9.Dragon boat racing
Dragon boats originated in China more than 2,000 years ago, but it’s only recently that this sport has surged in popularity in North America. Because very few people grew up paddling, this sport’s leagues are full of beginners who are catching dragon boat fever. The boat itself has a long, canoe-style body that holds 20 paddlers, one caller and one tiller. Because the races are typically short, there’s a lot of downtime at race weekends and festivals across the continent; just make sure not to drink so much beer that you’ve counteracted the great abs workout this sport offers.
Summer is the key time of year for tennis on the pro circuit, which means Wimbledon and the U.S. Open are just around the corner. Your discovery of this great summer sport can be too -- and it’s more fun than you expect. Besides being a great full-body workout, tennis has another thing going for it: it’s good on your wallet. All you need is a pair of court shoes (which you probably have) and a racket, which doesn't have to break the bank. Plenty of schools and rec centers have caged tennis courts available for free, so grab a partner and some balls, and swing away.
You may play ice hockey during the winter, or even year-round, but ball hockey is a great summer sport. After all, why spend your evening in a cold arena when the sun is shining outside? Ball hockey can be played indoors, but there are plenty of leagues that play at outdoor facilities, and these are the leagues that are best. It’s a great workout because teams are usually small and players spend the majority of the game running. While you won’t exactly have time to stop and chat during the action, it’s a fun game to play with friends.
Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to get your brains beaten in, so hear us out. Boxing might not be on your radar, but boxing gyms across North America are full of people who never have the intention of stepping into the ring with an opponent. Boxing provides a full-body workout like you wouldn’t believe, and soon you’ll be quicker and stronger. Like many gym sports, boxing is addictive and fun to challenge yourself alongside other like-minded individuals. It’s equally fun whether you sign up with your buddy or your girl, and in the summer, your roadwork will be a little more bearable than during the winter months.
Like some of the other sports on our list, basketball is one of those activities that can be played year-round, both indoors and out. But unless you’re playing under the bright lights of the NBA, we say this game is best enjoyed on the blacktop on a sunny day. The best thing about hoops is its versatility; you can have a game with any number of players. And if the level of competition in two-on-two or five-on-five isn’t what you’re looking for, slower-paced contests such as 12 and H-O-R-S-E are sure to entertain.
One of the best things about summer biking, other than getting out and enjoying the weather, is the sport’s versatility. Whether you’re into marathon-length road races, mountain trail exploring or just a leisurely pedal around the neighborhood, biking is a great way to get exercise while enjoying some fresh air. If you live in an urban area that isn’t cyclist-friendly and owning a bike isn’t sensible for you, there’s still no excuse not to give this sport a shot, as many rec centers offer bicycle rentals. But a word of advice -- if you’re just giving this sport a first attempt, don’t feel you need to go to the spandex ensemble just yet.
If you’re playing the flag variety of football at the recreational level, you can’t go wrong. This sport offers a great combination of fitness and fun. Most leagues have multiple divisions -- for everyone from the beginner to those who played at the high school or college level. So even if you’ve never played the sport but are a fan, it’s easy to find a league for you -- and many flag football leagues offer coed divisions. Unlike the continuous action of soccer, flag football has lots of stops and starts, so you’ll have a chance to catch your breath and get to know your teammates.
Soccer is such a global sport that wherever you live there’s bound to be a league. Because it’s a sport that can be enjoyed throughout life, you’ll find leagues full of beginners almost everywhere. The workout in soccer is second to none -- you’ll run, run and run some more until your cardiovascular fitness is the best it’s been in years. And regardless of your level of expertise, there will be a league that suits your skill.
Though countless softball leagues across North America are full of men who think they still have a chance to make the Big Leagues, there are plenty of leagues for those who take the game less seriously -- and that’s where the most fun occurs. Slo-Pitch is a hitter’s game. Pitchers must toss the ball to a certain height (8, 10 or 12 feet, depending on the league) and aim to have it land on home plate. These easy-to-hit pitches mean the ball spends a lot of time in play and the action and offense are explosive. Despite the excitement of the game, don’t doubt softball’s fun qualities -- teams often meet for post-game beers.
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