Shape up with mates.
A fast, skilled team game with sticks and a little ball. Matches last 70 minutes, and it only takes a couple of hours to master the basics, although becoming a skilled player can take a lot of practice.
Benefits: Improves co-ordination and agility, and all that running up and down the pitch is bound to pay off in the fitness stakes.
Drawbacks: The positions make players prone to problems with their knees and backs, so people who already suffer with these injuries should avoid it.
What will you need?
A hockey stick and trainers. Most clubs will require you to join for a year; membership can be costly, although college and university clubs should be reasonably priced.
International hockey federation
Eat it, sleep it, live it. For the talented few, there is much wealth and adoration. For the rest of us, football is good for fitness and a real test of coordination and the ability to run around manically for 90 minutes. Because point scoring in football happens less frequently than in most sports, goal celebrations give you the extra opportunity to behave like a right tit for 20 seconds.
Benefits: You can do it anywhere (and most men do) and it often turns into a social gathering rather than a serious 'game'.
Drawbacks: For the more serious players, football can turn into an overly competitive sport.
What do I need?
A ball, some mates and a space to play on. If, however, you're keen to take it more seriously and join a club, you'll need to invest in some boots and possibly a strip.
The aptly named Football Association runs football in England and has information on how to join local clubs on their website. The respective FAs for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also involved in getting people playing at grassroots level.
We're talking about two teams of 15 on a pitch, each battling to score as many points as possible. This can be done by carrying, kicking or passing an egg-shaped ball into the respective goal areas at each end of the pitch. A goal is known as a try - when the ball is carried into the goal area and touched to the turf - worth five points. Goalposts are also stationed at each end of the pitch. If a team scores a try they are allowed to take a drop kick or place kick over the bars of the goalpost, worth an additional two points. Three points can also be won by drop kicking the ball over the bar during general play. A game lasts 80 minutes, and is reckoned to be one of the most demanding of team sports going.
Benefits: An effective fitness all-rounder, rugby tests your stamina, strength, and cardiovascular system.
Drawbacks: As a contact sport, however, you run some risk of injury - particularly to the back and neck.
What do I need?
A team with a vacancy (though seven-a-side rugby is a popular alternative).
A non-contact game with two teams of seven players. Each player is allowed in a different area of the court, and the aim is to pass the ball down to the shooters who score goals through a free standing net. Strict rules about footwork and contactlead to penalties and free passes, and there is strictly no dribbling allowed. Kind of basketball with no dribbling, contact and more rules!
Benefits: Because players aren't allowed to run with the ball, co-ordination is a key skill that netball players soon learn. Each player is closely marked by a specific opponent, so outwitting them with sharp tactics is also necessary. Overall, it's a fun team sport - and yes, boys do play.
Drawbacks: All that sudden stopping can take its toll on the knee and ankle joints, so it's important to warm up properly first.
What do I need?
A court with proper netball markings, a ball, seven players and some goodfoot wear. Joining a league costs from £50 for a season, and coaching sessions are around £3, depending on how many attend.
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