Take up a new sport - what, where and how

It's been a busy summer of sport and across the country, children and adults alike are feeling inspired by the events of the past few months. If you fancy getting fit and meeting new people, here are a few sports to try your hand at.

take up a new sport

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Most of us had never heard of handball until recently, but it's a fast growing sport here in the UK. Like a cross between netball, basketball and football, it's a fast-paced team sport that will improve your agility and speed, and boost upper body strength. It's a contact sport, so not for the faint-hearted, but men, women and children can play and clubs throughout the UK are happy to take on players of all levels.

Visit www.englandhandball.co.uk for more information and to find your nearest club or event.

You don't have to be a musketeer to master the art of sword fighting... fencing is not only safer but is a great way to get fit. Learning the skill of attack and defence with the foil, epee or sabre improves co-ordination, flexibility and balance, and the sport is great for all-round fitness.

For information on how to get started and to find a local club, visit www.britishfencing.com

The open water is not for everyone but for anyone looking to harness their spirit of adventure, sailing might prove the perfect sport. Of course, there are many types of boat, from catamarans to keelboats, to choose from, each presenting their own specific challenges. Finding your perfect vessel will depend on your size and weight to an extent, but the good news is that you won't need to rush out and buy your own.

The Royal Yachting Association offers training for all ages and abilities, and provides excellent information and advice on courses, events and local club. Visit www.rya.org.uk to find out more.

For those lacking the fitness and endurance for some of the above, archery could be the sport to try. Suitable for children and adults, a good eye is all you really need to get started for target archery. And if you have a natural ability for judging distances, you could even move on to field archery where the distances are unmarked.

Though it may not be available at your local sports centre, there are many archery clubs across the country, so why check out www.archerygb.org to find you nearest one.

If serious fitness is what you're after, then martial arts could be the way to go. Taekwondo, for example, builds strength, stamina and flexibility - and will also give your self-esteem and confidence a boost. Although you'll need peak fitness to compete at any serious level, classes are available for all age ranges and abilities.

Check out www.britishtaekwondo.org.uk to find a local club where the qualified instructors will be happy to advise on getting started.