Want some inspiration to get
active? Here are our top 5 sports
to try out this summer
If the weather, longer daylight hours, increasing freedom and sport-heavy months of the summer have got you itching to try out, or at least research, some new activities, we’ve narrowed down some firm-favourite past times to motivate you into getting started.
You don’t need to be in California, or even Cornwall, to catch some decent waves in the UK. One of the benefits of living on an island is that the beach is never far away, meaning there are some top surfing spots to be found all over the country.
The benefits: Hitting the surf has huge physical and mental benefits. Whether you want to go all out to catching as many waves as possible, or just bob along on your board, having fun in the sea and mastering or fine-tuning a new skill is a great stress relief. Paddling out to sea will also work your arm and shoulder muscles while giving you a good cardiovascular workout.
Where to start: The Welsh coastline, countless beaches in Cornwall and Devon, the north coast of Scotland, and the North Yorkshire Coast are your best bet to find some waves. It’s a good idea to have a lesson if you’re a complete beginner, otherwise most surf schools will also offer wetsuit, board and boot hire.
- Wales: Take your pick from 17 trusted schools along the Wales’ beautiful coastline.
- England: Cornwall and Devon have over 1,100 miles of coastline between them, with dozens of schools to boot. Get the details plus other top spots including the North East coast on Surfing England.
- Scotland: Thurso East boasts some of the best surf conditions not just in the UK, but in Europe. But if that’s a little far for you, check out Scottish Surfers map for somewhere a bit closer.
- Northern Ireland: This guide picks out the best spots to catch some waves in Northern Island, from the beach at Benone to an indoor surf-simulator in Belfast.
A slightly more easy-breezy option for getting out and enjoying watercourses inland as well as the ocean, stand up paddleboarding (SUP if you’re searching online) has exploded in popularity since the centuries-old Hawaiian concept gained exposure in 2004.
In case you’ve been living under a rock since then, SUP is pretty well what you imagine it to be – standing on a large board (like a beginner’s surfboard) and propelling yourself forward with a paddle.
The benefits: Even at a moderate pace, paddleboarding can burn between 300 – 400 calories an hour, and that’s before you start racing, taking to rapids, or doing a bit or floating yoga (yes, that’s a thing). Being on the water is a soothing environment and helps melt away tension, while the balance and paddling required offers the perfect low-impact workout.
Where to start: Visit Learn 2 Paddleboard to search for a SUP school near you from their UK-wide directory. Unlike surfing, you don’t need to be anywhere near the coast, with schools found in central locations including Staffordshire and Warwickshire.
Another hobby that’s good for the soul, riding can take you off the beaten track to explore different pockets of the countryside, from a slightly-higher-than-standing perspective. Or quite a bit higher depending on the size of your horse.
The benefits: Over to American horse trainer Franklin Levinson, who tells us that even just being around a horse changes our brainwave patterns. “We calm down and become more centred and focused when we are with horses,” he says. Aside from the obvious of being able to balance (i.e. stay on the horse), riding also calls on major muscle groups to control the horse, improving muscle tone and flexibility.
Where to start: With 537 listed in this directory alone, you’re not short of opportunities to get in the saddle, whether you’re looking for a lesson or just a gentle hack. A quick search based on your location will give you some options, and if you fancy going the extra furlong, why not consider a riding holiday?
A sport that is versatile enough that you can play on your own, play with friends, take a few swings at the driving range or spend all day out on a beautiful course – golf is next up on our list. It’s relaxing as it is character building, as there will be plenty of moments of frustration along the way no matter how good you are, we promise you.
If you’re just starting out, the best part is you can get plenty of practice in. All you need is an open space, a club and a few balls and you’re good to go!
The benefits: Time spent outdoors could be bottled and sold for a high price for the good it does us. Better sleep, lower blood pressure, and decreased depression are all happy side effects from getting outside, while an average 18-hole course will have you covering around six miles.
Where to start: Start with a taster session, private tuition, or have a go at the driving range, all of which can be found at golf clubs around the UK.
If you want to play more and enjoy the social aspect of joining a club, the membership fees can be a lot, but work out cheaper than booking a tee if you play regularly.
Month on month options like Play More Golf are rising in popularity and offer a cheaper, more flexible alternative.
England: Search by your area and use the filter “Get into Golf” to find taster sessions and tuitions at nearby golf clubs and centres.
Wales: Use the interactive map to find a beginner’s session with options all around the country.
Scotland: This beginners golf guide offers up courses in different regions – all of which are beginner friendly.
Northern Ireland: Choose from 128 golf courses to find one in your area and get detailed information on each.
From mountain biking to velodrome, road racing to touring, there are many sides to life on two wheels. Bikes can range in cost from anywhere from a couple of hundred quid to a few thousand, before you’ve spent more on helmets, clothing and other items.
Cycling can be as gentle or high-octane as you like, with hybrid, road bikes and e-bikes suited to long, leisurely rides, while mountain bikes, with their thicker tyres and suspension are build for going off-road.
The benefits: You can get all the cardiovascular clout from cycling without the impact of other high intensity workouts which might be harder on your joints. It builds strength and stamina while working all the muscle groups, helping protect against a host of serious diseases.
Where to start: Maybe you already have a bike you use to get from A to B and wanted to shift gears into a different style of riding.
Before splashing out on a new set of wheels, you could try hiring one first, with nationwide or local companies which allow you to hire for a short or longer periods. This article gives you the basics on heading out on your bike – owned or hired.
Protect your gear
Golf clubs, bikes, riding equipment and surfboards can cost a lot to replace if damaged or stolen. You can include sports equipment in an Arma Karma subscription, which offers cover for up to five items of value, so you can enjoy your new-found or well-established hobby safe in the knowledge that your stuff is protected.
Arma Karma Limited is registered in England and Wales under company number 12002692.
Arma Karma Limited is an Appointed Representative of Innovative Risk Labs Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm reference number 925873.