Take up a new sport: 10 ideas to get started

RF CD:  Canoeing & kayaking

Are you feeling inspired to get sporty but not sure what to try? Here are 10 sports and how to get started in each of them. Read on to find out which one is right for you...

Rowing can be a very social sport, as well as a great way to get fit. Working the leg, stomach, upper back and arm muscles, rowing burns 400-1,000 calories per hour depending on your speed - more than cycling, running or swimming - and because it's low impact, can be taken up at any age. Most rowing clubs offer open days and taster sessions. Visit www.britishrowing.org/taking-part to find one near you.

One of the fastest-growing sports in the UK, archery is suitable for any age or fitness level. It's not unusual to see archers in wheelchairs shooting alongside able bodied people at the same tournament. The most popular form is target archery, where you fire arrows at targets over flat terrain at distances of 80-100 yards. Field archery uses targets placed over rough ground, usually woodland, with shooting distances left unmarked so players rely on judgement and instinct. There are more than 1,100 archery clubs in the UK, many of which offer free taster sessions. Visit www.archerygb.org to find one near you.

Horse riding
If you enjoy being outdoors and love horses, riding could be for you. Most people learn the basics at a riding school before going on to owning or leasing their own horse. You could take up show jumping, racing, three-day eventing (which combines racing across country with show jumping and dressage) or take part in non-fox hunting - ideal for those who like social events and want to meet new people. Horse riding is also a good aerobic workout, great for burning calories and toning the abdominals, obliques and thigh muscles. Visit the British Horse Society www.bhs.org.uk for a list of qualified riding schools near you.

Beach volleyball is a sociable team game that offers a fun, high-energy cardiovascular workout, good for improving fitness, coordination and strategic thinking. With more beach volleyball courts springing up and lots of indoor volleyball courts around the country (and many clubs offering sitting volleyball for disabled players) it's easier than ever to have a go. Many clubs offer free taster sessions. Find your nearest one using The Volleyball England Club Finder http://www.volleyballengland.org/club_finder

Whether you enjoyed playing hockey during your school days or not, there are plenty of good reasons to give this fast-paced team sport a try. Popular with men and women, hockey is a great way to work off stress, lose weight and tone up. The short bursts of energy required burn around 260 calories per 30 minutes, offering an intense cardiovascular workout, as well as improving upper and lower body strength. Visit www.englandhockey.co.uk to see how you can take it up again.

Canoeing and kayaking
Canoeing and kayaking offers something for everyone - whether you dream of calm, scenic waters, the rush of sea kayaking or the thrill of competitive sprinting. And thanks to double kayaks, it's perfect for getting the whole family involved. If you're new to the sport, why not get on the water next time you're on holiday – there are lots of coastal and river canoeing and kayak centres which hire equipment out. Canoe England clubs and centres offer starter sessions around the country. No previous experience, specialist kit or skills are required - just turn up and have a go. For more info or to find a club near you visit www.gocanoeing.org.uk.

Whether you're looking for a cheap commute, a thrilling cross-country ride or a fun family day out, cycling has much to offer – not least a great cardio and lower-body workout. Go solo and escape the stress of everyday life or join a club and enjoy the camaraderie of riding in a group or the thrill of competitive racing. Search for a cycling buddy, discover local routes and find cycle events near you at www.britishcycling.org.uk. You can also find details of more than 1,400 cycling clubs, each with a different focus, such as off road riding, BMX, cycle speedway and racing.

If being on the sea rocks your boat, why not give sailing a go? Once you've mastered the technique, you can take to the waters with friends or get sporty with competitive racing. Thanks to subsidised sailing courses on lakes and reservoirs, you don't need to live by the sea to take part. Sailing clubs enjoy a thriving social scene with meet ups and fun events organised for both on and off the water – so if you're looking to meet people, this could be the sport for you. Search for your nearest sailing club at The Royal Yachting Association www.rya.org.uk/wheresmynearest/Pages/WheresMyNearest.aspx.

If you're looking for a competitive sport that will also help you build confidence and teach you valuable self-defence skills, judo is the perfect choice. As well as building fitness, strength and stamina, judo is great for improving flexibility, coordination and balance and can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of size or strength. And with a clear grading system, there's the extra motivation of working up through the ranks. Visit www.britishjudo.org.uk to find a club near you.

Women's football
A competitive session on the pitch will burn some serious calories (650 per hour) and do wonders for your cardio strength and endurance – not to mention toning your legs and bum. You don't need to commit to playing with a particular team to get involved. The FA's Just Play! Kickabouts scheme is designed for anyone over 16 who would like to play casually - without the obligation to train on a regular basis. Visit https://justplay.thefa.com.

Have you taken up a new sport recently? Leave a comment below...
Young Archery Whiz Shoots High