12 sports to try out this summer

Playing football in the park

With plenty of taster sessions during the summer months, some of them free, now’s the time to try a new sport. Which will you choose?

Summer months provide the best conditions to go outside, enjoy some fresh air and get heart healthy. Many national governing bodies of sport work with local clubs to hold starter sessions that enable you to try something new. You don’t need previous experience and you won’t have to pay for any specialist kit – simply turn up and have a go.There are lots of events, often free, throughout the year. 

Activities such as walking, running and cycling help lower your risk of coronary heart disease. Regular physical activity help you feel more relaxed, give you more energy and a sense of achievement. Soon, you’ll be building up to your minimum recommended 150 minutes of physical activity a week.

1. Canoeing 

Starter sessions, run by Canoe England, cater for absolute beginners and some of them are free.

2. Cycling 

Find bike rides near you with Sky Ride. The CTC has hundreds of member groups which organise rides. In London, check out the London Cycling Campaign which holds rides and events around the capital.

For women, British Cycling launched the Breeze network in 2013, aiming to get one million more women riding bikes by 2020. Currently, four times more men cycle than women. Breeze hopes to close the gap by providing a relaxed, supportive atmosphere in which women can ride together. Breeze organises fun, local rides for women, often starting and finishing at a café.

tennis racquet and balls3. Tennis 

The Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) mission is to get more people playing tennis more often. The Great British Tennis Weekend, which allows you to try tennis for free, is over now for 2015 but look out for events next year. And you can play tennis in your local park at little or no cost.

4. Rugby

Attend a rugby-related event as part of the Festival of Rugby or have a go at the non-contact version of the sport with In2Touch in England and Scotland, In Touch Rugby in Ireland, or Play Touch Rugby League in England.

5. Golf

Find free or low-cost taster sessions around England with Get into Golf, or in Scotland with the Scottish Golf Union. In Wales, Golf Development Wales runs New2Golf.The Golfing Union of Ireland also has golf tips for beginners.

6. Table tennis

Discover your nearest outdoor table and play for free with Table Tennis England, Table Tennis Wales, Table Tennis Scotland or Table Tennis Ireland.

7. Cricket

Register a team or sign up solo at amateur cricket league Last Man Stands.

8. Football 

Just Play provides regular kickabouts without the commitment of a league. Find out more about Just Play in England, Just Play in Scotland. In Wales, find a club in your area with the Welsh Football Trust

9. Rounders

Discover your nearest league, many of which are free, with Rounders England. If you're in Ireland, learn to play GAA Rounders.

Mark Harrison10. Running 

Run England has over 2,500 beginners running groups across the country. These are ideal if you’re looking to add a social element to your running, and they offer advice and support from a group leader. You can walk, jog or run and benefit from the motivation and safety of a group of like-minded people.

Park Run offers a way to get involved in free, sociable running events around the UK. In Scotland, look for local jogging groups with Jog Scotland.

11. Baseball and softball 

Learn all about baseball, slowpitch softball and fastpitch softball.

12. Volleyball 

29–31 August is the Go Spike Big Weekend, when anyone can turn up and give it a go.

Before taking up any new activity, check with your consultant or GP. 

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