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 can help lower your risk of heart and circulatory disease. Regular physical activity can help you feel more relaxed, give you more energy and a sense of achievement. Soon, you’ll be building up to the minimum recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week.

1. Canoeing 

The British Canoeing Go Paddling initiative rounds up local paddling clubs and centres. Many centres offer a range of taster sessions for beginners, as well as guided tours for more experienced paddlers.

2. Cycling 

Find bike rides near you with Let's RideCycling UK 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. 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.

Aimed towards supporting disabled people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the benefits of cycling, Wheels for Wellbeing has information on sessions available 

tennis racquet and balls3. Tennis 

The Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) mission is to get more people playing tennis more often. The LTA website allows you to search for local events and tester sessions, and you can also play tennis in your local park at little or no cost.

4. Rugby

Search for rugby clubs near you on England Rugby, or have a go at the non-contact version of the sport with Try Tag RugbyIn2Touch 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 England 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

Find your nearest amateur cricket club - and information on how to join - at England and Wales Cricket Board, Cricket Scotland and Cricket Ireland.

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. Meanwhile, the Walking Football Association aims to get men and women aged over 50 active and involved in football. Check out their website for information on clubs and sessions in the UK and Ireland.

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 Together has over 2,500 beginners running groups across England. 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 

From beach volleyball to sitting volleyball, discover local clubs and events with Volleyball England, Scottish Volleyball Association, Volleyball Wales and Northern Ireland Volleyball.

13. Netball

Following the Netball World Cup 2019 in Liverpool, netball has received a boom in interest. Take a look at netball sessions that can be enjoyed regularly, around your commitments or during school holidays at England Netball. Find clubs nearest to you by visiting Netball Scotland, Welsh Netball or Netball Northern Ireland.

England Netball also offers slower-paced walking netball for people, regardless of age or fitness level.

Developed by ParalympicsGB in partnership with Toyota, Parasport aims to encourage people with disabilities to get involved with local sports or activities. Visit the Parasport website to find information on sessions near you.

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

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