It's that time again when everyone is counting down the days until another year arrives.

With more people working from home, it is essential to exercise to stay healthy and fit. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to the early onset of many illnesses, decreased mental health, and lower work performance.

But never fear. If you don't want to engage in running or paying for a gym membership you'll never use, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Even extreme ironing is a sport!

So here is a rundown of 7 options to be active and fit in 2021.

1. Walking and Hiking Keep You Active and Fit

Hiking and walking are the most accessible forms of activity to start with since they require minimal exertion, so they are great for keeping yourself active. If you work from home or at a desk, start walking at least 30 minutes a day can avoid circulation, posture, and mental health issues. There are now a variety of walking programs that will help keep you on track and get motivated while walking.

Hiking takes walking one step further (no pun intended). Whichever activity you decide, you'll need a quality pair of shoes to make sure you don't do any damage to your body over time.

A quick search on Google will give you plenty of information about joining your local walking or hiking club. Clubs are a great way to get started, as you can meet new people and learn from others. Plus, you'll get access to all the best routes!

2. Biking for Low-Impact Accessible Exercise

Getting on a bike for many is liberating and offers a wide range of choices. The most popular of these are road cycling, as, like jogging, you can set off and cycle on the road.

But there are plenty of other variations, which, depending on where you live, could be the sport you've been looking for.

For example, mountain biking takes hiking to another level. Adding a mountain bike to the mix, you get an all-out adrenaline experience, much similar to skiing or snowboarding.

Track cycling is another excellent way to engage in biking, which is more akin to an intensive cardio workout such as sprinting.

3. Winter Sports for Active Holidays and Cold Weather

Winter sports are perfect for getting started in 2021, mainly because it's winter!

Even if you don't live near mountains with snow and ice or plan to go on a skiing holiday, there are plenty of dry slopes and indoor slopes worldwide. Alternative slopes offer the next-best experience and are great for training on out-of-season if you decide winter sports are the activity for you.

And you aren't limited to skiing either. Snowboarding is another popular alternative, and then you've got less-strenuous activities such as cross-country skiing and ice skating or ice hockey that offer a more relaxed winter experience.

4. Swimming is the Choice for Ailments

Swimming is a great all-year-round activity, and it's easy to see why so many people enjoy swimming.

Plus, with swimming, it's also learning a vital survival skill, should you ever be unfortunate enough to get yourself into difficulty or need to help someone in crisis. In that respect, you could almost argue that swimming is, therefore, much like first aid training.

The health benefits of swimming on the individual are well-known for being low-resistance and respiratory-friendly. Therefore, anyone with asthma, or lower-body injuries and ailments, will benefit significantly from swimming.

The best part is that you can go swimming pretty much anywhere from a swimming pool to a nearby beach.

5. Paddleboarding for the Adventurous Types

Watersports can be brilliant exercises as they give you a full workout while engaging in the beauty of nature. Paddleboarding is another water activity and one you might not have seen before.

It is a cross between surfing, canoeing, and kayaking, where you stand on a board and use a paddle to navigate the waters. It is an activity that appears complicated at first as you require a lot of strength and balance, but once you find your way, it's impossible to put down. You won't want to go back on dry land!

It is a great full-body workout that makes it great for those who hate the gym. And the best part is because the board is large, you can bring your pet goat along for the ride!

6. Golfing The Easy Life

Like walking, Golfing is another brilliant sport for low-resistance exercise. It is an excellent workout for those who prefer a more relaxing experience while exercising at a slower pace.

And don't think you need to have lots of money spare as the stereotypes suggest. It's more accessible than ever to rent equipment, and quality clothing doesn't have to be expensive.

It can be an engaging social sport for those who don't get as many opportunities to interact in person. Mental health is essential to maintaining a healthy physical lifestyle.

7. Racquet Sports With a Difference

Tennis is the go-to racquet sport for many, as it is the most easily accessible. Did you know that there are many variants you can also play if you fancy something a little different?

Pickleball is a great example of this. Often seen as a cross between tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, it is excellent for those with injuries who require less intensive exercise than tennis. Plus, it's great fun to play as a doubles sport.

Badminton, squash, and ping-pong are three other popular racquet sports, but depending on where you live, some will be available more widely than others. It's a great way to socialize and become part of a club, just like golf.

Work Out Your Workout

Whatever sport you choose, you can be satisfied knowing you're looking after your body and mind. It is important to find the right fit for your body and lifestyle.

It's just as important to rest as it is to exercise. Follow the correct procedures for warming up and cooling down, and purchase some suitable clothing. It's a small price to pay to make sure you look after yourself in the best way possible.

We've been talking about 2021, but why delay? It's time to start a health plan and start being active and fit today! Keep reading for more great ideas to keep fighting fit this winter.

January 13, 2023 — Gabriella Lowell