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Summer of Sports Sparks A Surge of Interest in New Activity Across the Nation

Bupa’s Clinical Director Dr Luke Powles shares the health benefits of getting creative with your exercise routine, after a spark of interest across the UK following this year’s Summer of Sport.

  • Handball is the most popular sport for the UK to try (967% increase), inspired by this year’s Summer of Sport
  • Following on from England’s Euro success, searches on Google for ‘football near me’ increased by 806%
  • ‘Triathlons near me’ is the third most popular, with a 646% increase over the last two months
  • According to Bupa research, 7.2 million eager exercisers hurt themselves during lockdown, with men twice as likely to injure themselves, so Dr Luke Powles shares his advice on avoiding injury

Here’s why the UK have felt so inspired:

Dr Luke Powles from Bupa Health Clinics says, “Following a summer of high-profile sports events, it’s no surprise that the nation has become inspired to try something new.

Over the last few months, there has been a surge in searches on Google for a range of activities, including handball, gymnastics, and water polo. 

We’ve watched numerous successes with great enjoyment across different types of sport this summer, and it’s encouraging to see so many of us feeling inspired and searching for a new sport to try.

Not only is it great fun to mix up your exercise routine, but it’s a great way to meet new people, avoid workout boredom and find something new you enjoy. 

Don’t underestimate the value of regular physical activity on your health either: it helps you to feel more relaxed, boost your energy, and gives you a sense of achievement.”

10 most popular summer of sport-inspired activity: 

Google search:% increase in searches in Summer 2021:
Handball near me967%
Football near me806%
Triathlon near me646%
Water polo near me540%
Table tennis near me408%
Gymnastics near me311%
Archery near me309%
Karate near me247%
Badminton near me238%
Judo near me184%

Four benefits of switching up your exercise routine

Prevent overuse injuries

Exercising the same way all the time can increase your risk of injury through overuse, often through training or technique errors.

For example, going too fast, exercising for too long or simply doing too much of one type of activity can strain your muscles and lead to an overuse injury.

Mixing up your exercise routine avoids this repetition and may lower your risk of an overuse injury.

Also, make sure you’re pacing yourself, wear the correct footwear for your chosen sport, and gradually increase your activity level.

Avoid workout boredom

Even if you love to exercise, the same activity can quickly become dull. Studies have even shown that performing the same exercises repeatedly increases the risk of giving up on exercise.

Trying something new is a great way to avoid repetitive workouts, keep your exercise varied and ensure you stay motivated to achieve your fitness goals.

Improve results

If you’re an exercise enthusiast, it’s likely you’re always looking to improve your fitness performance.

To get the best results, you should change up parts of your workout every three to four weeks depending on your experience level and the time of year.

Focus on different muscle groups

When you try a new sport or exercise routine, you’ll often stimulate different muscle groups.

Varied workouts keep all your muscles, bones, and joints healthy, as well as improving your strength, balance, and co-ordination.

How to avoid injury when trying a new sport

“With proper precautions, sports injuries can often be prevented. Firstly, make sure you use the right equipment and footwear, as the wrong shoes can lead to injury.

Don’t underestimate the importance of warming up and cooling down, either.

Recovery is an essential part of any training programme and it’s important to help maximise performance and reduce your risk of injury.

Our bodies repair and strengthen when we’re at rest, so include rest days to give your muscles the chance to recover.

If you’re new to exercise or change your usual routine, such as the intensity or duration, you may experience delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). 

Finally, when you’re exercising, it’s important that you listen to your body and know when to stop. If you haven’t exercised for a while, start slowly and gradually increase how much you do.

This will help prevent pulling or straining your muscles. And remember, some discomfort is natural, but pain is never a good thing. Stop and speak to a fitness professional if you’re feeling any pain when exercising.”

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