Best sport for me to get in shape?

The Food Forum's Evil Twin. Trying to lose weight or get in shape? Tips, encouragement, status reports, and so forth go here.
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ArgonV
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Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby ArgonV » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:47 pm UTC

So here's what I want.
- I want to lose some weight
- I want to get in better shape
- I want a sport that I can do by myself, whenever I want

Since I've been going to the University, I gained about 7 kilos. Combine that with the fact that I was already a little too heavy to begin with, that lead me to decide I want to lose some weight. By changing my diet a bit (most of the change is drinking less beer and stuff like cola :P ), I managed to cut about 2 kilos in two months. But now the decline has been gradually declining and it'll probably stop going down soon. That still leaves another 10 to lose.
At the same time, my stamina has changed. I used to sport a bit more in High School. Now all the exercise I get is riding my bike. That said, I cycle at least 30 minutes each day, usually more, but that doesn't really seem to change anything for me.
Now the reason I want a sport I can do alone, whenever I want is not that I'm a complete loner, but my schedules tend to be erratic and I can't always guarantee I'll be somewhere on a set time.

So I was thinking about jogging and my goal would be to get back up to 10 km in 45-50 minutes 2-3 times a week in about 4 months. Good idea? Bad idea?

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scruff
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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby scruff » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:31 pm UTC

Not that I'm a sporty genius or anything, but how about swimming? Works lots of muscles, cardio-vascular system, and develops a potentially life saving skill at the same time.

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Zak
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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby Zak » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:41 pm UTC

Cross country running is awesome. If you want to be super gnarly you should be up around 50 miles a week, but that involves serious pain. We did that for cross country last season, and I basically had to live off of pure carbs in order to survive.

So yeah, long distance running will definitely help you lose weight.
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ArgonV
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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby ArgonV » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:51 pm UTC

That sounds like a plan. I live at the edge of a city and if I just head westwards, there's lots of farmland and woodland for me to cover. Think I'm gonna try that as soon as I work out a training schedule and get me some running shoes.

50 miles a week is really pushing my resolve, especially if it involves pain :P I'm thinking more along the lines of 24-30 km.

Swimming might be a good idea, but then I'd be bound by the swimming pool opening times, even though they'd probably be pretty relaxed.

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby jtw » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:57 pm UTC

if you're dead set on a "sport," i've always been a fan of swimming, so if you know how to swim then that's what i would recommend.

look at swimmers' bodies vs runners' bodies - personally i think i prefer the swimmer look, slightly more muscular than the lean and thin distance runner.

also, consider a weight lifting routine (assuming you have access to a gym). helps build muscle AND burn fat.

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Prions
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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby Prions » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:27 am UTC

Track or swimming.

Both of these sports will hurt, but you just have to move past that.

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Durandal
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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby Durandal » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:45 am UTC

Zak wrote:Cross country running is awesome. If you want to be super gnarly you should be up around 50 miles a week, but that involves serious pain.

I've always wondered, what is the best way to avoid shin splints?

Also I second either running, cycling, or swimming. Swimming will get you a great body, whereas with running you'll need to have a weight training program as well.

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby ArgonV » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:12 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:Note that you don't need fancy running shoes to run. I'm using my ~$100 general-purpose sneakers and doing fine running 5k a day (well, ideally), which is about what you're aiming for.

Will you do better with special shoes? Sure. Do you need them? No.

For €100 I can also get some running shoes. Think I'll do that, I'm stubborn :P

Meteorswarm wrote:That said, don't be dumb. Dress shoes aren't running shoes, and Converse are pushing it.

All I have are three pairs of Vans, I don't suppose their gonna cut it, are they?

Durandal, I don't aspire to have a great body, I just want to lose some weight and gain some stamina. But I'll keep it in mind, in case I change my mind.

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby psyck0 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:59 pm UTC

The heavier you are, the more important good shoes are. Also, some people just need good shoes period. I'm 190 and absolutely demolish running shoes, and have to spend about $150-200 on a pair every year.

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby ams » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:27 pm UTC

The "best" sport for getting in shape is whatever sport you'll stick with.

That said, swimming and running are sports you can do on your own while still competing (against yourself). Golf is OK, as long as you walk the course, but it will probably cost quite a bit more. Bowling can be done yourself, but won't do nearly as much to get you in shape.

Basketball and tennis are things you can't quite compete by yourself, but you can have fun and get a good workout. Also, at college you will frequently be able to find someone to play against.

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby Hobgoblin » Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:04 am UTC

Swim! I love it INTENSELY, swimming every day for my high school.
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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby duckshirt » Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:02 pm UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:It's also higher impact, which may matter if you're worried about arthritis later in life.
I don't really believe in this part... Wear-and-tear, to the human body, is constructive in the end. So some impact will build up stronger bones and joints, as long as you still get the right nutrition and don't totally wreck yourself.

I don't mean to push you away from swimming, though... I always thought it looked fun, and a good way to build all your muscles instead of just your lower body, but as people have mentioned, it was never convenient for me. Seeing as you already have the bike down, you could also swim and run and do a triathlon someday.
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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby Hobgoblin » Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:56 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:Swimming will cost you for pool time, but you don't really wear out swimming clothing (I hope? I guess I could be wrong). It's low impact, but the chlorine may bother you, and wet hair in winter sucks. It's also more of a full-body workout than running.


Actually, you do wear out swim clothing. The chlorine eats at your suit like a mofo, especially if you have a speedo/jammers like we do during competitions. They start to get thin and loose, and soon you can see your ass through the back of the nylon.
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gaurwraith
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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby gaurwraith » Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:04 pm UTC

If you want to swim, check what time the pool is less crowded and try to get some time to go then. Also, mixing sports should be good, like going around on a bike and then swimming and throw a bit basketball.
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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby shocklocks » Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:26 am UTC

I agree with mixing it up. It keeps things interesting. It also lets you do more. If you've just ran for an hour 30minutes of rowing isalot easier then 30minutes more running. Also if you're mainly doingcardio then mix up the intensity as well. Mix up burpees, star jumps etc with some body weight exercises or some sprints.

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby Zak » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:55 am UTC

Durandal wrote:
Zak wrote:Cross country running is awesome. If you want to be super gnarly you should be up around 50 miles a week, but that involves serious pain.

I've always wondered, what is the best way to avoid shin splints?


I've never really heard of a way to avoid shin splints other than dumb luck or just not running long distance. Mostly it's just constant icing and running through it after you already have shin splints.

I wouldn't really know though, I've been lucky enough to avoid the splints for the most part.
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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby Stabable Offense » Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:37 pm UTC

I know you asked for solo sports but I'd really recommend playing soccer when ever you can fit it into your schedule. I don't know about your school but here it seems like I see a pick up game going on 3 or 4 different fields almost every day. It's pretty much one big HIIT workout but way more fun, I was never in better shape than when I used to play a few times a week.

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby Phildawg9000 » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:43 pm UTC

I don't know how many people consider this a sport, but, well I do. Martial arts are a great way to get in shape, though it can sometimes be hard to practice by yourself(without instruction)

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby matsos » Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:29 pm UTC

I've never really heard of a way to avoid shin splints other than dumb luck or just not running long distance. Mostly it's just constant icing and running through it after you already have shin splints.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shin_splints

I used to have terrible shin splints to the point where it was hurting my training. Properly fitted running shoes (from a specialty store) made the biggest difference, as did stretching (to help maintain proper running form).

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby duckshirt » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:46 pm UTC

This guy has a good remedy for shin splints... Basically, he says shin splints are caused by one of the two muscles around your shin becoming too weak, so you have to strengthen them. I never had all the tires / bands and stuff that he uses, but I used to just use one foot to put pressure on the toes of my other while pressing up hard with the other foot to strengthen it (a few seconds each, a few times on each foot). And then to strengthen the opposite muscle, I'd just press my toes down into the ground. And, as said, good form helps prevent injuries.
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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby Delass » Sat Apr 11, 2009 1:56 am UTC

As a student athletic trainer:
For shin splints, try walking on your heels, and rest, ice, compression, elevation. A neat trick is to take a dixie cup, fill it with water, freeze it, then unwrap part of it and hold it by the remainder of the cup, then rub the ice onto the shinsplint until it melts. Ibuprofen is always good. When you get back to running, tape can be really helpful. Dont forget prewrap, then wrap it up with an elasticy, stretchy tape, all the way around. Then, take white tape, and start on the back of your calf, then pull it on the medial/interior side, towards the anterior/front side, then rip it off about halfway across, about when it gets to the bone. Then do it again and again going up the leg, overlapping the tape by about 50%. Then just wrap a piece of white tape all the way around at the top to be sure it stays on. Good luck.

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby wumpus » Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:05 pm UTC

Two notes:

1. Don't expect to look like Micheal Phelps from just swimming. Last I heard, competitive swimmers spent more time in the weight room than the pool.

2. Another voice about the importance of shoes! When I started running, ran in "cross trainers" (basic shoes that look like you should be able to run in them, but aren't made for runners). I would get pretty good, then injure my achilles tendon. After a comment from a track coach I was recovering at the end of a trail with, I switched to "basic running shoes" (ASIC 100s series?). These got me through marathon training (although I think the trail I was using wasn't balanced right, and I injured my knee right after the race). I'm a big guy (6'5", was 180-195lbs during this time), but I would suggest good shoes for anyone who wants to run for long.

- note that there are many types of running shoe. I'd start with looking for a "basic shoe", no motion control, and certainly not one of those ultra-light racers: those are probably worse than any other shoe at protecting your feet. The point of those is to shave off seconds for the perfectly fast, not start out running.

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby felagund17 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:50 pm UTC

The single most important thing is that you enjoy the sport. If you don't, you won't do it enough or give it 100% effort. I don't think there's any one sport that's best -- a lot of them can get you into shape, and there are many definitions of "in shape."

You'll probably get better results from a mix of sports. If your goal is weight loss, for example, muscle burns more calories at rest than most other tissue, so some weight lifting in the mix will help, even though it burns fewer calories per hour than some other activities.

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby Kachi » Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:07 am UTC

Just to throw out a couple that I didn't see mentioned, boxing and rowing are options. It's good to change things up every once in a while.

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby wumpus » Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:51 am UTC

Hear hear! for the sport you will spend the most time on!

The last sport I spent quite a bit of time at was volleyball. Not a good sport to directly get you in shape, but if you want to play two man (beach style), you better be in shape. This is a similar situation to how I found running. As a college freshman, I took up karate. Sensei mentions "running helps karate" and wouldn't you know, the cross-country trail was right outside my dorm. I never got a black belt, but about 10 years later I ran a marathon...

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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby TheCitadel » Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:26 pm UTC

If you want to lose weight, swimming is not necessarily the best sport. Swimming is healthy, it will help you stay fit but you won't burn the same calories you lose when running. The reason for this has to do with body temperature. When you swim and therefore exercise, your body temperature and the water's are pretty similar (given you're in a warm pool). On the contrary, when you run and start to warm up, the difference between your body's and the air's temperature is big. Metabolism increases when there's a big difference in temperatures, causing you to lose weight.
However, swimming is good for your muscles and your joints (English is not my native language as you probably can tell so I just guessed that word, I'm not sure it is the right one). Martial arts are great in that aspect too.
If I were you I would combine several sports, as it has been already suggested by some very wise people here. :)
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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby Gears » Wed May 13, 2009 3:49 am UTC

I love boxing. It lets me get my anger out at the same time i'm excersizing, and it is exhausting. I can go about 3 minutes of hitting the heavy bag now, but I had to work up to that. Have someone show you how if you aren't sure though, and wrap your hands!
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Re: Best sport for me to get in shape?

Postby Emily St Aubert » Wed May 13, 2009 12:16 pm UTC

It's true that swimming won't do much about weight loss. I swim every day and I'm a big fat lump - I do it as much for relaxation as for exercise, really. Likewise, I adore yoga (has to be proper, Iyengar yoga for me) but the benefits are about flexibility and I guess strength, not weight loss.

I used to go kickboxing and that was brilliant fun, and it makes a great partner to yoga or swimming. Because of the kicking it's pretty good on flexibility and covering legs as well as arms and it's very aerobic too. And I second the aspect of anger management that comes with it! Discipline is also an advantage especially if you go to a class, but there's online classes available now - at least, my old martial arts school offers online courses with a video leading you through the workout and of course you can do that at any time.

I had to stop because I developed a really painful tendonitis in my Achilles tendon. A real nuisance - it's one of the reasons I mostly swim now. I would also say if you do have the money to go to a gym they do tend to open all hours, and then the rower is a good machine, and the cross trainer, and you can of course compete against yourself. I used to do that too, before I left London, and it does feel good to beat your previous time for say rowing 1km. And of course you can combine cardio and weights in one go. But you may well not wish to go down the gym route, of course.

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