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A-Z of sport

There’s a sport for everyone! For some people it’s finding ‘the one’. For others it’s all about variety and taking part in lots of different sports. Maybe you have heard about a sport or seen it on TV and would like to find out more? Many of us find we fall in love again with a sport we used to enjoy! There’s a sport for everyone!

A-Z list of activities.


Activities for this age group are specifically designed to be gentler yet progressive. The aim is to exercise to the point of feeling warm and slightly out of breath. Ideally the activities are looking to improve strength, bone density, stamina, power, and flexibility – all things which start diminish as we get older.   


Abseiling involves lowering down a rock face with ropes set up so that you are in control of your own descent. It’s a challenge for all ages that is also an unusual, exciting experience that you won’t forget. It also provides the opportunities for visiting new places with wonderful views and scenery to enjoy. Starting off with a straight forward abseil, you will slowly build up confidence and may even progress to Rap Running which involves descending the rock face FORWARDS! 
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Aerobics is a gym class, set to music and led by a qualified instructor who will lead you through a variety of structured movements that will raise your heart rate and get your blood pumping – from gentle jogging on the spot, to star jumps, lunges, twists, stretches and tummy crunches … just to name a few! There are different classes for different levels of fitness so you can choose one that appeals to you and suits you best.
High impact aerobics is not for the faint-hearted – it’s a very energetic form of exercise which features lots of movements that lift you off the ground. Its probably a class to graduate to rather than start with as you need to be quite fit to do it. You are guaranteed though to leave the class feeling refreshed and energised and will certainly sleep well too!

Low impact aerobics focuses on floor-based exercises, stretches and movements, all of which involve you keeping at least one foot on the floor at all times! It’s a more sedate form of aerobics, making it a perfect introduction for beginners but still giving you a good aerobic workout. 


Aikido is a Japanese martial art based on spherical movements by which an attackers aggressive force is turned against itself. The main form of techniques are joint immobilisations and throws using the opponents momentum. Since Aikido does not require physical strength or aggressive spirit, it can be practised by people of all ages and sexes. Based on full and natural body movement, Aikido exercises the whole body. It teaches and develops flexibility, co-ordination, balance and quick reaction.
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Angling remains hugely popular across the country. Angling can be exciting, and competition at the highest level is fierce. It can also be very relaxing – often fishing sites are in tranquil settings, so it’s ideal if you’re looking to unwind and lower your blood pressure. It’s a perfect sport for people of all ages. As well as being a popular countryside pursuit, angling is also becoming increasingly accessible in towns and cities on local stretches of rivers and canals, as well as sea angling along the coast. 
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Archery is the art, practice and skill of propelling arrows with the use of a bow. Technology has evolved since the days of Robin Hood but the skills needed for this historic sport remain essentially unchanged. The most important requirements remain straightforward: physical and mental control, physical conditioning for strength and stamina, steady hands, sharp eyes and nerves of steel! ‘Archery is a sport for all people!’ – and has always been at the forefront of integration between able-bodied and disabled participants.
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Arm wrestling

It may look simple but there’s a lot to consider! Technique and overall arm strength are the two greatest contributing factors to winning an armwrestling match. Other factors such as the length of an arm wrestler's arm, his/her muscle and arm mass/density, hand grip size, wrist endurance and flexibility can mean one arm wrestler enjoys an advantage over another. Arm wrestlers are fit, supple and powerful. If this inspires you – then you’re not alone! Competitive arm wrestling is popular in 85 countries worldwide.
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The sport of athletics has a proud heritage and it continues to be one of the country’s favourite sports. It covers ‘track and field’ – which is everything from running to jumping and throwing. There’s an athletics discipline for everyone, regardless of age, shape and ability. Athletics is a year round sport with outdoor and indoor opportunities for training and competition.  The Olympic Games in 2012 provides an exciting focus for getting involved in athletics.
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Australian Rules Football

If you have never had the chance to see a game of Australian Rules Football, then you have missed one of the hardest hitting and fastest moving games in the world.  Australian Rules Football, or "footy", is played with the same intensity as the American style of play, but among the differences: field size is different, scoring is different, and...these guys don't wear any pads!! The game is played between two teams of 18 players (plus interchange players), on cricket ovals or similar-sized grassed arenas. The game is also distinguished from other games by the fast, relatively free movement of the ball and the awarding of a free kick for any clean catch. The rules may take time to learn – but at least there’s no offside rule!
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Aqua aerobics

As the name suggests aqua aerobics is essentially aerobic exercise in the water. It typically takes place in shallow water at a swimming pool and as part of an organised group session. Workouts usually comprise of routines familiar to those who have experienced land aerobics, and could include jumping jacks, cross-country skiing motion and walking and running backwards and forwards. It keeps the heart and lungs healthy whilst toning the body and reducing fat, and also provides a good opportunity for a splash about in the water. It is also one of the safest sports, as the support the water provides for the body greatly reduces the risk of bone, muscle and joint injury.

Badminton is one of the UKs most popular sports. Hearing a badminton racket's “Whack!” when it successfully hits the shuttlecock often sounds like pure music to the ears. Badminton is a no-fuss sport that can be played almost anywhere – playing at a club with people of the same standard, hiring a court with friends at a leisure centre or just playing in your back garden. Badminton racquets are light which means it can be played as the ideal gentler sport for younger children and older adults, as well as those who really want to test their physical prowess and mental agility.
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Have you dreamed of an exhilarating flight over the English countryside? Ever wondered how the crew flies a balloon or airship? It takes skill and patience, as well as physical effort. It is certainly a sport with a difference and gives participants a huge sense of achievement and fulfilment. Improve your heart rate and send your confidence sky high – literally!
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Ballroom Dancing

No one can really agree on a definition for ballroom dance. Some try to confine it to specific sets and patterns, but the beauty of ballroom dancing lies in its constant change with new dances and variations continually being added. From the Waltz, to the Fox Trot, Tango, Two-Step, Swing and Disco – the principles learned in ballroom dancing can be applied to any type of music. Ballroom dance is also known as the “social dance” because it encourages social interaction between dance partners, so is a great activity to meet new people.


Baseball is perhaps the quintessential American sport. It’s a sport played between two teams – usually with nine players in each. It is played with a baseball bat and baseball – a pitch called a diamond (which is a 90 foot square). The rules are quite straightforward and easy to learn. The pitcher throws the ball towards the batter. The batter hits the ball and players run past the four bases on the corners of the square ‘diamond’. Teams play nine innings – there’s no set time period. Both teams bat and score runs; a team's half-inning ends when three of their team are out.
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It’s fast, skilful and fun and is popular with both sexes and most age groups. And there’s no requirement to be seven feet tall to enjoy the sport of basketball – though if you’d like to play professionally it might certainly help! Never played basketball? Teams of five active players each try to score points against one another by throwing a ball through a 10 foot high hoop (the ‘basket’). You can get the ball to the opponents end of the court by bouncing the ball forward, which is called dribbling, or by passing the ball between teammates. Disability basketball also continues to grow and develop amongst girls and boys, men and women. As well as basketball clubs who all welcome new members, there are also lots of courts in parks and ‘recs’ across the country where you can play informally with friends or shoot hoops and practise your skills.
To find your nearest place to play see
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Beach volleyball

Beach volleyball may look glamourous but it’s far more than bikinis. It’s a fast growing, competitive sport. The sport evolved from indoor volleyball. Unlike indoor volleyball, beach volleyball is played by teams of two players. The teams are positioned one either side of a net. Players hit the ball over the net using their hands or arms like in indoor volleyball. Some of the rules of the beach game are different, so players develop different skills. England may not be the sunniest country in the world but there are hundreds of volleyball clubs.
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Biathlon can be used to describe any sporting event made up of two disciplines. However, biathlon usually refers specifically to the winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. Another popular variant is summer biathlon, which combines cross-country running with riflery, and also modern biathlon and biathle, which combine running with swimming. Biathlon competitions come in a range of distances – from full to sprint – and many events have an individual or team option.
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Bicycle Polo

Bicycle Polo is similar to polo – using bikes instead of horses! The cycles used for the game are not allowed to have brakes. It’s a great way to combine using a bike with developing skills in balance.
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BMX is a form of cycling on bikes which usually have 20-inch wheels. The sport includes races on dirt tracks—BMX racing—as well as the performances of tricks —BMX freestyle. Going to a BMX race or event is a great way to see what happens and to get inspired. Races usually take place on purpose built off-road single lap racetracks, made up of various jumps, banked and flat corners, and a finish line. Freestyle BMXing takes several forms, and many BMXers use skateparks and other facilities to practise.
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Bobsleigh is a winter team sport, whereby teams make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled.
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Boccia was invented as a sport for athletes with disabilities, although is regularly played and enjoyed by able-bodied players too. Boccia can be played by individuals, pairs, or teams of three. The aim of the game is to throw leather balls - as close as they can to a white target ball, or jack. The jack is thrown first, then each side takes turns to propel their ball towards the jack. The balls can be moved with hands, feet, or, if the competitor's disability is severe, with an assistive device. There are sports centres and clubs offering Boccia across the country. Get started now and you could end up representing Great Britain in 2012! You’ll certainly have huge fun along the way.
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Boxing is an ancient sport and discipline. Nowadays two participants of similar weight fight each other with their fists in a series of one to three-minute intervals called ‘rounds’. Boxing training is a great way to get fit, involving running, skipping, weights and agility workouts. It’s a real aerobic work out.
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(British American Football)

(British) American Football is a competitive team sport known for combining strategy with physical play. The objective of the game is to score points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. The ball can be advanced by carrying it (a running play) or by throwing it to a teammate (a passing play).
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Buggy Fit / Buggy Walks

The best way to get into shape after your new arrival. Exercise programmes are developed and led by experts to suit the various stages you go through after having a baby -  from the initial weeks after birth, through those tough times of getting back into those jeans, and onto those new levels of fitness – and all from behind your buggy and pram. Classes involve primarily walking to raise heart rates as well as group exercise specifically selected to strength and tone muscle groups. And of course you’ll have the chance to chat and make new friends with other like-minded Mums!
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Camogie is a Celtic team sport which is the women's variant of hurling. The rules are almost all the same. It’s played mainly in Ireland, although hurling and other Celtic sports are growing in popularity in the UK. Many Irish clubs in England have links to Gaelic sports.
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Canoeing is the activity of using a paddle to propel a canoe with only human muscle power. Canoes are propelled using single- or double-bladed paddles where the paddler is kneeling or sitting on seat or thwart, with their knees bent and their legs more or less beneath them. It is the UK's biggest participant watersport. Canoeing provides a great, exhilarating physical work out and is as much about skill as it is about strength, meaning that everyone can do it. You don’t need any specialist equipment or to live in the countryside to try!
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Caving is the recreational sport of exploring caves. Caving is often undertaken for the enjoyment of the activity or for physical exercise, as well as for learning more about the physical environment, as is similar to mountaineering or scuba diving. Climbing or crawling is often necessary, and ropes are used extensively for safety of the negotiation of particularly steep or slippery passages
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Cheerleading is a unique athletic discipline which uses organised routines made from cheers, chants, stunts, jumps, tumbling and dance, usually to spectators of events to cheers on sports teams at games and matches.
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Cricket is a bat-and-ball team sport contested between two teams of eleven players each. It is an outdoor sport being played in the summer season, although cricket net training happens in leisure centres, schools and sports halls all year round. Competitive cricket can be a lengthy game, played over a whole day or sometimes a series of days. However now with the introduction of Twenty20 cricket competitive play is becoming much more fast, furious and exciting! 
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Croquet is a lawn game, played for fun and competitively. The game involves hitting wooden or plastic balls with a mallet through hoops which are sunk into the grass playing area. There are different variations of the game, which use different scoring systems, order of shots, and layouts. The game has become increasingly skillfull, and new strokes have been introduced to challenge players.
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Curling is an Olympic sport played on ice. Two teams of four players each take to the ice to alternate turns at sliding heavy, polished granite stones down the ice towards the target area called the house. Two sweepers with brooms accompany each rock and use timing equipment and their best judgement along with direction from their other teammates to help direct the stones to their resting place. It is complex and highly skillful, and often curling is referred to as ‘chess on ice’. It is a test of strategy and precision. Ice rinks around the country offer curling and hire out equipment to get people started.
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Most of us have tried cycling at some stage in our lives. You may never forget how to ride a bike as the saying goes – more excitingly you could learn how to ride a new type of bike. The sport has lots of different disciplines – BMX, Cycle Speedway, Cyclo-Cross, Mountain Biking, Road and Track biking. Cycling is also a great way to get around and stay fit – in rush hour cycling is twice as fast as a car and regular cyclists enjoy a fitness level equal to that of a person ten years younger!! Cycle clubs are a great way to make new friends and learn about local cycle paths and routes.
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Traditionally a pub game and a sport which is popular across the UK. To excel at darts takes many hours of practising – but it is easy to get started! The stereotype of male pub players is changing rapidly as the improved fitness of players impacts on the game. After all stamina, balance and precision are at the heart of darts.
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Diving is the sport of jumping or falling into water from a platform or springboard, sometimes while performing acrobatics. Successful divers share many of the same skills as gymnasts. The science of diving is fascinating – involving as it does the relationships between velocity, angles and trajectories. Judges award scores out of ten for dives. Three points for the takeoff, three for the flight, and three for the entry, with one more available to give the judges flexibility. Swimming clubs are a good place to go for information on diving and lessons. Not all swimming pools have diving facilities but clubs and local pools can advise you.
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Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon boat racing is one of the fastest growing and most exciting water sports you can take part in. Teams race by paddling very long and narrow boats. Though not everyone will have a club or watersports centre on their doorstep, the sport is growing in England. You don’t need to own a Dragon boat to have a go!
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If running and cycling are sports you enjoy then you could fall in love with duathlon. Duathlon consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and then another running leg. Distances vary in competitions. Off-road versions also exist too.
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Fell Running

Fell running is a demanding sport popular across the UK. Runners need to be both fit and to have good navigational skills. If you enjoy running then fell running maybe a great new challenge, and a wonderful way to experience the countryside. 
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Fencing is a family of sports and activities that feature armed combat involving cutting, stabbing, or bludgeoning weapons that are directly manipulated by hand. Fencing is skilful, elegant and precise. It is physically and intellectually demanding – a true discipline. Wheelchair fencing is also a widespread sport in the UK. Clubs would be able to provide participants will equipment and coaching.  
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The ‘beautiful game’ is England’s national sport. It’s fast, skillful, fun and open to everyone. Most of us have kicked a football around at some point. One of the real beauties of the game is that is can be a sport for life. From playing 11-a-side, to the many 5-a-side leagues that are popular with friends and work colleagues, to kicking a ball around in the park using jumpers for goalposts – it’s one of the best ways to keep fit and healthy.
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Futsal is an indoor version of football. Futsal is played between two teams of five players, one of whom is the goalkeeper, and up to seven substitutes per team. Unlike some other forms of indoor football, the game is played on a hard court surface delimited by lines. Futsal is also played with a smaller ball with less bounce than a regulation football, helping to develop ball skill. It’s a great way of playing football all year round or when there aren’t enough players for 11 a-side.
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The object is to get the golf ball from the start (the tee) to a hole by playing different strokes – the fewer strokes the better the score for that hole. Golf courses offer 9 or 18 holes, of different degrees of difficulty. There are municipal or public courses across the country which are open to all players, and often you can hire clubs. Contrary to misconceptions, golf clubs are not the preserve of the rich, or open only to men. Clubs can help you to get lessons and improve your game if you’d like to play regularly.
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Gymnastics is a sport involving performance of exercises requiring physical strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, balance and grace. Gymnastics covers many different disciplines; parallel bars, balance beam, floor exercises, vault, pommel horse to name a few. The disciplines are different for men and women but all are skilled and challenging.
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Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each (six outfield players and a goalkeeper) pass and bounce a ball to throw it into the goal of the opposing team. Modern handball is usually played indoors, but outdoors variants exist in the form of field handball and beach handball. Handball comprises high-speed action, gymnastic agility and athletics with spectacular shots on goal. It has been described as a sport combining all the best elements of basketball, water polo and football with a little bit of rugby thrown in. 
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Hang Gliding

Hang gliding is a sport you do in the air. There are different types of hang glider but the basics are the same. Essentially the kit consists of an aluminium - or composite-framed fabric wing with the pilot mounted on a harness hanging from the wing frame. The pilot exercises control by shifting his or her body weight. Hang gliding has evolved over several years and now hang gliders can soar for hours, gaining altitude in thermal updrafts, and fly cross country over large distances. The sport is related to paragliding.

As with many sports, getting training and support from a qualified coach is key to enjoying hang gliding and there are many clubs around to support with this.
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Health Walks

Walking is the perfect activity for health – almost everyone can do it, you can do it anywhere and anytime, it’s free and you don’t need special equipment. Health walks are specifically designed and carried out to improve health, being purposeful and ‘brisk’ - in other words more than just a stroll. Organised walks can also benefit health by providing the opportunity to socialise and a distraction from everyday stress (stress contribute to poor health). Its also a great way to enjoy and see more of your local natural space. 
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Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments often on hiking trails. Hiking could be your average Sunday walk through the park or it could be a three-week expedition through the Andes mountain range. When people think about hiking, they mostly think of nature, the great outdoors, and a backpack. For most people, hiking is an escape back to nature and a great way to get a good workout while forgetting all about the day to day hassles of city life.
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Hockey is a sport in which two teams compete by trying to manoeuvre a hockey ball into the opposition’s net or goal using a hockey stick. There are several sports in the hockey family – such as ice hockey. The game of Hockey is played widely across the world.  In England it is a popular family orientated sport, played mainly in clubs by both men and women. Junior hockey is thriving in Bucks. It is one of the strongest counties and there are a few thousand youngsters playing at clubs in the county.

The game is now played almost exclusively on artificial grass pitches. They offer a greatly improved surface compared to the traditional grass pitches, which were often the winter reincarnation of cricket fields. Today there are many clubs that use and often share local authority owned facilities.  The evolution of the playing surface from grass to artificial pitches saw the game change dramatically, with players able to control the ball more easily.  The range of skills demonstrated and the speed of the ball has made hockey a faster and more exciting game.  Indoor hockey is also popular at all levels – and enables players to enjoy the sport all year round.

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Horse Riding

Horse riding (also know as Equestrianism) refers to the skill of riding or driving horses. There are many horse riding clubs offer lessons to beginners – and you don’t need to be a horse owner or have any specialist equipment to join in.

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is the national governing body for horse sports in the UK, affiliated to the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body of equestrian sports.
The BEF is an umbrella organisation representing the interests of 4.2 million riders, vaulters and carriage drivers in Great Britain via 18 independent member bodies.

What is Hoof?

Hoof is the British Equestrian Federation’s Olympic and Paralympic legacy campaign which aims to encourage more people to take up horse riding, driving, vaulting and volunteering. By connecting people to riding centres, schools, clubs and equestrian sporting organisations, Hoof is helping more people to discover horses, get fit and improve their well being.

Take Back The Reins is a series of riding lessons providing specifically designed coaching to support a rider’s first steps back into the saddle - it’s never too late to rekindle or discover a love of horses.
Horse riding is a hugely varied sport with rewarding offerings for everyone to enjoy - able bodied and disabled people alike. Log on to the Hoof website now to search for your perfect local riding centre, school or club; find more information on learning to ride, horse sports or volunteering opportunities and get involved today!

Find your Hoof Regional Network. To find out more about how you can get into horse riding in your region, just follow this link:


Hurling is an outdoor Celtic team sport. It’s played with sticks and a ball. It’s very, very fast. Why is it called hurling? The object of the game is for players to use a wooden axe-shaped stick called a hurl, or a hurley, to hit a small ball between the opponents' goalposts either over the crossbar for one point, or under the crossbar into a net guarded by a goalkeeper for three points. It’s played mainly in Ireland, although hurling and other Celtic sports are growing in popularity in the UK.
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Ice Hockey

Ice hockey is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use sticks to direct a puck into the opposing team's goal. It is a fast-paced, skillful, demanding and physical sport. The players learn excellent skating and ball skills, as well as developing great fitness. Some but not all players can already ice stake when they take up ice hockey, but there are plenty of opportunities for beginner to learn. 
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Ice skating

Lots of different sports can be played on ice, namely figure skating, ice speed skating, ice hockey or you may just wish to skate for fun! There are a number of ice skating rinks across the country – and some additional outdoor rinks which are in use during the winter months. Clubs offer tuition and coaching, and equipment for hire so you don’t need to buy anything before you try.
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Jogging / Jog Fit

Jogging is a somewhat unique fitness method, combining some of the rigors and intensity of running but at a much more manageable pace for the average person. The major benefits include increased functioning of the heart and lungs as well as strength and toning of other muscles. 
It’s free to do and you can fit it in around your lifestyle, making jogging a great way to keep fit. There are many different types of jogging – cross country, on the road, or a mixture of both (muti-terrain). Distances can vary to suit your fitness and goals. And if you decide to join a running club, you will find that it can be an extremely social sport and you’ll gain plenty of advice and support. Most clubs also organises runs where you can compete, or just join in for fun.
The British Athletics website has a search facility to locate you nearest club -
For a comprehensive guide to all aspects of running, from reasons to begin, which shoes to buy and a beginner's running schedule visit the 'official site of the UK's best-selling running magazine' -


Judo is a martial art which has its roots in ju-jitsu. While throwing opponents to the floor wins most matches, it is the only Olympic sport where submission holds allow choking an opponent or breaking an arm! Judo works out the whole body and is a great way to stay in shape. 
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Ju-Jitsu is applied to many schools of unarmed and hand-to-hand combat. The soft grappling style is intended to use the least amount of force necessary. Ju-Jitsu emphasizes turning an attacker's own force against him or herself, putting them off balance. Ju-Jitsu also emphasizes certain grappling moves and strikes to vital areas. A Ju-Jitsu student is expected to learn how to gauge the force of an opponent's attack and use it against him, evade attacks, use leverage against an opponent and how to attack nerves and pressure points.
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Kabbadi is a team sport that’s played like this: two teams of seven players occupy opposite halves of a field of 12.5m x 10m. Each team has five additional players (reserves).The game is organized into two 20-minute halves. The teams take turns sending a ‘raider’ across to the opposite team's half, where the goal is to tag or wrestle (‘capture’) members of the opposite team before returning to the home half. Tagged members are ‘out’ and are sent off the field. The raider must not take a breath during the raid, and must prove it by constantly chanting (called 'cant' or 'dak') during the raid. A different and unusual activity but with growing popularity across the UK.
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In a nutshell, karate is a martial art of Japanese origin that deals with attacks through evasive body movements and/or blocking, and counter attacks using kicks, punches and strikes. It has a proud tradition and respect is at the heart of the discipline. As a method of keeping fit and healthy, it develops balance, co-ordination, aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility. In addition, (and unlike many other physical activities), it also challenges the brain and requires constant mental alertness and agility. It can also improve confidence.
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Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water. It differs from canoeing in several ways. Kayakers use a two bladed paddle and unlike canoeists they sit in a seat on the bottom of the boat with their legs extended out in front of them.
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Keep fit classes

Keep fit classes take place at sports clubs, gyms and leisure centres across the country. Classes vary in intensity and style – so it is easy to find one that works for you. Keep fit classes are usually set to music and led by a qualified instructor who will lead you through a variety of structured movements that will get your heart pumping as well as work to tone your body.  Many people also enjoy keep fit videos or DVDs – which offer easy to follow work outs that you can do in your own home. Videos and DVDs can be borrowed from libraries – so you don’t even need to buy one! 
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Kendo is the martial art of Japanese fencing. Kendo is physically and mentally challenging, combining strong martial arts values with physical elements.
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Kite surfing

Kite surfing or fly surfing or kiteboarding involves using the power of a kite to pull the rider through the water on a small surfboard, a wakeboard, or a kiteboard. The kitesurfer uses a board with foot-straps or bindings, combined with the power of a large controllable kite to propel himself and the board across the water. It is challenging. A kitesurfer's body is the only connection between the kite and the board. It can be seen on windy beaches across the country.
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Kneeboarding is a water sport where the participant is towed on a buoyant, convex, and hydrodynamically shaped board at speed behind a motorboat or cable tow. Riders sit on their heels on the board, and secure themselves to the deck with an adjustable strap over their thighs. Like in wakeboarding or water skiing, the rider hangs onto a tow-rope.
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Korfball has very close similarities to netball. However is played by mixed teams – 4 men and 4 women. It can be played either indoors or outdoors on a court divided into two halves called zones. In each zone there is a post with a basket at the top. The ball is similar to a football. Players score by throwing the ball through the other team's basket. It is a relatively new but fastly developing sport.
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Lacrosse is an exciting team sport that is played with either six, ten or twelve players – each of whom uses a netted stick (the crosse) in order to pass and catch a very hard rubber ball with the aim of scoring goals. It’s a fast and skillful game; ideal if you are looking for a team sport with a difference.
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Lawn Bowls

Lawn Bowls is played on a flat bowling green, which is generally grass, with the aim to roll slightly asymmetric balls, called bowls, closest to a smaller - normally white – bowl called the “jack”. Bowls is a sport for all ages, as success doesn’t have to require physical fitness. Although having said this, competitive bowling can be an exhausting game and in matches players can expect to walk two or three miles and bend up and down about 100 times!! Bowls is a highly tactical game, which indeed is one of its attractions.

Crown Green Bowls is a game of arguably greater interest featuring an added dimension to the flat green game. The Crown Green is a square lawn slightly higher in the middle than at the edges and play is conducted all over the lawn in any direction making for a great deal of variety.

Indoor Bowls is simply the indoor incarnation of lawn bowls, played on strips of stimulation green which are similar in length to lawn bowls. It’s the  ideal alternative for the winter months when the typical English winter weather kicks in! 

Short Mat Bowls is simply a miniaturised version of the outdoor game which can be played more easily inside when space is restricted.

Carpet Bowls – yet a third indoor variant played on a carpet fabric, with less emphasis on maintaining all the rules of the mother game.   

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Luge is a small one- or two-person sled on which one sleds supine (face up) and feet-first. The luger is required to complete a set course, finishing with the sled in the sliding position. There are weight restrictions on the sleds, as well as restrictions on the design and construction, as well as many other restrictions related to equipment including speedsuits, booties, helmets, gloves, spikes, etc. It may not be as easy to take part in as many other sports but clubs are in existence offering opportunities to those who are interested.
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Modern Pentathlon

Modern pentathlon comprises pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, horse riding and running. It is often referred to as delivering the ‘complete modern athlete’. A points system for each event is based on a standard performance earning 1,000 points. The winner is the Pentathlete who has accumulated the most points after the five events.
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The term motorsports includes rallying and karting. Both sports can be enjoyed for fun or in serious competition. There are motor sport centres across the country, offering different ways to experience the sports. The sports bring a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘driving test’! If the thrill of skillful, fast maneuvering is the thing for you why not find out more?
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Mountain-biking off road requires endurance, bike handling skills and self-reliance. The sport of mountain biking is roughly broken down into five categories: cross country, downhill, freeride, dirt jump and trials/street riding. The sport offers participants a thrilling experience and a wonderful cardio and muscular work out. It’s a sport which can be enjoyed with friends and there are clubs which are not just in mountainous areas!
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Netball is a limited-contact team sport in which two teams of seven try to score points against one another by placing a ball through a high hoop. It is a fast skilful team game based on running, jumping, throwing and catching. It is now the most popular women’s participation sport. Many girls, and now increasingly boys too, enjoy netball at school. Many women have great fun coming back to netball – often years after they have left school or college, with many recreational, community clubs across the country. Netball courts can be found in sports and leisure centres as well as in play grounds and parks.
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You may never have looked at the bottom of a swimming pool. Try Octopush and that will soon change! Octopush is a non-contact sport in which two teams compete in a swimming pool to manoeuvre a puck sliding across the bottom of the pool into the opponent's goal with a short stick. It’s underwater hockey and many of the rules of hockey apply. Getting involved in Octopush improves stamina and fitness as well as swimming abilities. The game is played in swimming pools across the country.
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Orienteering means maps, varied terrain and adventure. Orienteering is a sport where competitors navigate their way between control points marked on a specially drawn map. It doesn't matter how young or old or fit you are. You can run, jog or walk, you decide your own pace. There are various orienteering disciplines but foot orienteering is the most common.
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Parachuting (also see sky-diving)

Put simply a parachute is a device that slows the vertical descent of something (often a person) falling through the atmosphere, or the velocity of a body moving horizontally (a high speed car for example). There are different ways to enjoy parachute jumping – increasing in skill level until you’re able to master the accelerated free-fall! You can take part for fun or competitively, even progressing to aerial display teams. Many people start off with a static line jump which means the parachute opens automatically as soon as you leave the aircraft. Others join a highly experienced trainer in a tandem jump. Which ever source you take parachuting is one of the biggest thrills in sport. The expert training and support you’ll need is provided at parachuting clubs which can be found across the UK and you don’t need to buy expensive equipment to have a go.
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Paragliding is a recreational and competitive flying sport. A paraglider is a free-flying, foot-launched aircraft. Developed from parachuting canopies, modern paragliders can be soared effortlessly on windward slopes, and flown across country in good conditions. It‘s the same freedom that hang glider pilots enjoy, but a paraglider is more portable and a little easier to learn to fly.
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Have you wondered at TV footage of agile people jumping off street furniture, running up walls and gracefully tumbling off buildings? This is the street sport of Parkour (sometimes know as PK). The activity is known as the art of displacement – filling the spaces between things. The aim is to move from point A to point B as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the possibilities of the human body. It is skilful and can look stunning. Parkour takes practice, fitness, skill and above all – great care.
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Petanque is a form of boules where the goal is to throw metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet. The game is normally played on hard dirt or gravel, but can also be played on grass or other surfaces. It’s an ideal activity for backyards, playgrounds, parks or campsites. It’s a low impact activity so whatever your age or fitness level it could be the sport for you.
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Pilates is a physical fitness system that focuses on using your mind to control your muscles. Pilates exercises teach awareness of breathing and alignment of the spine, and strengthens the deep torso muscles – great for helping and preventing back pain. It can be enjoyed by people of all fitness levels and ages. Many sports clubs, gyms and leisure centres offer pilates classes or sessions.
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Polo is a stick and ball game usually played on horseback – though some people play on bikes. The basic objective of the game is simple – it’s to score points. Riders do this by driving a white wooden or plastic ball into the opposition’s goal using a long-handled mallet. Goals are only valid if the scoring rider is mounted. And you don’t need to be royalty or own a horse to get involved!
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Pool (also known as billards) is a cue sport which involves striking balls around a cloth-covered table bound by rubber cushions with the idea to pocket the balls. Pool is enjoyed in clubs and pool halls across the country.For more information go to:


Quoits is a traditional game played on grass involving the throwing of a metal or rubber rings over a set distance to land over a pin in the centre of a patch of clay. It is closely related to horseshoe pitching and the fairground game hoopla.


Racketball is played with racquets and a hollow rubber ball on an indoor or outdoor court. It incorporates the rules from squash and handball – with hitting the ball against the walls, floor, and ceiling of the court all being within the rules of the game. It’s a fast game which will certainly keep you physically fit but an easy game to learn making it perfect for beginners. The governing body is England Squash.
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Rambling (also known as mountaineering) is the most popular form of active recreation in the country. It’s a fantastic way to get fit and stay active; as well as a wonderful way to meet new people and see new scenery. Rambling takes place in urban as well as rural areas. Organised walks are a great way to get involved, whether you join in individually or with friends. Walks vary in length and difficulty, so there’s always something for everyone. If group walking isn’t for you just put on your comfortable shoes or trainers, open the front door and see where the mood takes you!
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Real Tennis

Real tennis is the original racket sport from which the modern game of tennis or lawn tennis is descended. The real tennis court looks very different from a modern day tennis court, with asymetic walls and window openings which form part of the game. The rules of the game also differ from lawn tennis. A major difference is that players hit the walls of the court with the ball and in some cases can win a point instantly by hitting the ball into one of the window openings around the court. It’s an old and complex sport but players pick up the rules quickly.
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Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is one of the greatest challenges of human strength, skill and endurance and one of the most rewarding sporting activities. Climbers use gear and safety equipment specifically designed for the purpose. There are several different ways to undertake rock climbing and this sometimes depends on the terrain – for example climbing boulders or outcrops. Joining a club is the best way to learn about climbing and climbing techniques and how to use the gear and equipment safely. Some sports centres have indoor rock climbing walls and can offer courses and sessions. Rock climbing can be enjoyed for recreation or competitively. Beginners can hire equipment to try out the sport.
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Roller Hockey

Roller hockey is hockey on roller skates, sharing the vast majority of the rules. It is fast and exciting. Generally ‘roller hockey’ is played with quad roller skates (4 wheels), and ‘Inline Hockey’ is played with inline skates (2 wheels). The footwork and skill of players, particularly in the quad roller skate game, can rival that of football players. It is most often played in sports and leisure clubs on indoor rinks, though can be enjoyed outdoors. Other related sports are artistic skating; inline hockey; skater hockey and speed skating.
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Rounders is a striking and fielding team game. Many people will have played and enjoyed rounders at school, but then not discovered the many different leagues, clubs and people who enjoy the game as an adult. Rounders is a favourite among families due to the ability for mixed teams, ages and abilities to all pay in the same team.

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Have you ever used a rowing machine at a gym and wondered what it would be like to take to the water and try the real thing? Rowing is an exciting Olympic sport with several disciplines. Put simply the rower sits in the boat facing backwards (towards the stern), and uses the oars which are held in place by the oarlocks to propel the boat forward (towards the bow). You can row on a river, lake, reservoir or even the sea. Rowing teams can be made up of 1, 2, 4, or 8 rowers.
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Rugby league is a full contact team sport. A rugby league team has 13 players in named positions, divided between forwards and backs. The game is fast and strategic and played by all ages and abilities both males and females. The game traditionally has a strong North of England heritage but is now played all over the country.
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Rugby Union is played by teams of 15 players and matches last for 80 minutes. It has developed into a very complex attack and defence strategy game involving highly developed skill and tactics. The girls’ and womens’ games are growing and many clubs have teams across all age ranges. Players come in all shapes and sizes, and many clubs offer mini-rugby for young players new to the game.
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Running is one of the best activities most people can do to improve their health. Running regularly can help with weight loss, fighting aging and disease, and with generally staying healthy. You can run almost anywhere and best of all its an activity that is free to do in your own time! Local athletics or running groups exist where you can get advice on routes or even find a running buddy to keep you motivated!
For a comprehensive guide to all aspects of running, from reasons to begin, which shoes to buy and a beginner's running schedule visit the 'official site of the UK's best-selling running magazine' -
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Sailing is the art of controlling a boat with large foils known as sails. There are many different types of sailing, from exploring the rugged coastline on a cruising yacht or experiencing the adrenaline buzz of skimming across the waves on a windsurfer or dinghy. Most people think that sailing is too expensive for them, but there are many cost-effective ways to get afloat. Whichever type of sailing you choose, it is guaranteed to be all about adventure, exploration, teamwork and fun, and is a relaxing and enjoyable way to discover new places.    
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Samurai Shinkendo & Aikibujutsu

Samurai Shinkendo & Aikibujutsu is a martial art that teaches the way of samurai swordmanship. It is a non-competitive activity with is learned through swinging exercise, drawing techniques, sparring, solo forms and test cutting with real swords. Aikibujutsu is based on earlier self defence methods of taking the initiative using controlling and arresting techniques.
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Shooting is the sport of target shooting with a rifle, shotgun or pistol. Competitors aim either at a fixed target, or a moving target made of clay. This is called skeet shooting (a form of clay pigeon shooting). The sport of shooting is highly regulated and there are clubs across the country where professional coaching is offered.
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Show Jumping

Show Jumping is where a rider skilfully steers a horse over a series of jumps, obstacles, walls and fences to complete a set course, usually with the aim to do so in the fastest time with the fewest mistakes. Your local equestrian centre can give you advice and information on how to get started and are usually able to provide all the equipment you need.
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Skateboarding is the act of riding and performing tricks using a skateboard. It can be everything – a great activity, an art form – a method of transport! The number of skateparks in England is also on the rise, with investment from sports bodies and local authorities, so it worth checking out what is available in your town or city.


Skiing is a group of sports using skis as the primary equipment to navigate down a slope. You can try out the sport on dry-ski slopes or snow domes across the country, and clubs based at the slopes offer tuition and equipment hire as well as advice on safety.
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Skipping is a traditional way to keep fit – much prized by boxers and athletes who know what a good all round work out it offers. As a cardio exercise there’s not much better. Skipping ropes can be bought from sports stores for just a few pounds.


Skydiving (also known as parachuting) is the sport of jumping from enough height to deploy a fabric parachute and land safely. A typical jump involves individuals jumping out of an aircraft, at approximately 4,000 meters  altitude, and free-falling for a period of time before activating a parachute to slow the landing down to safe speeds. By manipulating the shape of the body skydivers can generate turns, forward motion, backwards motion, and even lift. Skydivers make their first jump with an experienced and trained instructor (tandem skydive). During the tandem jump the jumpmaster is responsible for the stable exit, maintaining a proper stable freefall position, and activating and controlling the parachute.
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Snooker is a cue sport that is played on a large baize-covered table with pockets in each of the four corners and in the middle of each of the long side cushions. It is played using a cue, one white ball (the cue ball), 15 red balls (worth 1 point each) and 6 balls of different colours (worth 2–7 points each). It is a highly skilled game at the top level requiring balance, precision and vision - but it is played for fun in clubs, halls and pubs across the country. The modern venues for the game are a far cry from old, smoky snooker halls, where members of all ages and both sexes are welcome.


Snowboarding involves attaching (or binding) a lightweight, smooth snowboard to boots and travelling down a snow (or artificial slope). The sport can also involves jumps and turns in the air. You can try out the sport on dry-ski slopes or snow domes across the country, and clubs based at the slopes offer tuition and equipment hire as well as advice on safety.
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Softball is a game closely resembling baseball that is played on a smaller field, with a larger ball and a softer bat. The vast majority of UK softball is mixed slow pitch but there are also single sex teams and a growing fastpitch community.
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Sombo is a self defence jacket wrestling sport and modern martial art. It combines martial art, combat sport and self-defence. Sambo includes practice with weapons and disarming techniques as well as extensive forms of striking and grappling. It is taught by experienced practitioners, and helps participants to develop skills in balance and wrestling as well as all round fitness. As in all martial arts respect for oneself and others is at the heart of the sport.
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Speed Skating

Speed Skating is skillful, demanding and incredibly fast. Skaters can attain speeds of 60km/per hour. It is an Olympic sport where competitors are timed while crossing a set distance. Related sports are short track speedskating, inline speedskating, and quad speed skating. Many people get into speed skating after enjoying other athletic sports such as running and sprinting.
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Squash is a racquet sport played in leisure centres, sports halls and clubs across the country. The game is played by two players (or four players for doubles) with 'standard' rackets in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball. The scoring system is easy to learn. Squash is also known as “physical chess” being a great all-round workout for the legs, lungs and mind. Being an indoor sport, it can be played all year round. 
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Street Dance

Street Dance is one of the fastest growing and changing contemporary dance forms – coming in a variety of levels and styles. The spirit of street dance lies in its versatility and accessibility, with dance styles evolving from social dance outside of the dance studio in everyday spaces such as streets, school yards and nightclubs. Its use and technique is far less stringent than in other kinds of dance, so relies more upon individual style and rhythm. There is a looseness to all skilled street dancers which allows them to channel the nuances of the music directly through their bodies. Whether you’re interested in breaking, krumping, or video dance, the more relaxed you are, the easier it will be to adopt the range of movements required in street dance.
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Swimming encompasses a wide range of activity including, fun sessions, aquafit, water circuits, synchro, water polo, as well as swimming lessons and length swimming. It is an activity which takes place in the medium of water, which due to its weight bearing properties, is an ideal medium due to there being no stress on the joints, making it accessible for people for whom other forms of physical activity are difficult i.e. those with mobility problems or those who want low impact exercise. Swimming is an excellent activity for all round fitness, getting the heart rate pumping and toning your entire body. Being able to swim also opens up a wide variety of opportunities to get involved in other activities such as triathlons, jet skiing, wakeboarding, to name a few.
Masters swimming is swimming for adults. It encompasses the whole range of ability from casual fitness swimming to highly organised competitive swimming.  To qualify as a 'masters' swimmer one needs to be over 25 years of age.
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If you’d like to be carried along by the power of a breaking wave – then surfing is for you. Surfers also use kneeboards, body boards, kayaks, surf skis and their own bodies. Derivatives of surfing make use of other elements, such as the wind, and these include kite surfing and windsurfing.
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Table Tennis

Table Tennis or ping pong by which it is often known, is a game played either between two (singles) or four (doubles) players, who hit a ball back and forth to each other with bats called paddles across a table divided by a net. It demands lightening fast reactions! Table tennis can be played according to your own capabilities and limitations and still be competitive. It is a game for all ages and it is one sport whereby athletes with disabilities can compete on equal terms with able- bodied athletes, since there is much more to the game than sheer power or strength. Table tennis is an indoor, non-seasonal sport - you can play it all year round. 
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Tae Kwon Do

Tae Kwon Do is a martial art originating in Korea. It’s one of the most widely practiced martial arts in the world. The sport uses kicking techniques, which distinguishes it from martial arts such as karate or certain southern styles of kung fu. The rationale is that the leg is the longest and strongest weapon a martial artist has. Physically, Tae Kwon Do develops strength, speed, balance, flexibility, and stamina. Using mental and physical discipline, practitioners are able to break boards. It demands self respect and control, and is rewarding for participants of all ages and abilities.
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Tang Soo Do

Tang Soo Do is a traditional Korean martial art. It has similarities to Shaolin fist, and the same characteristics as Karate - which is the Japanese version of this precise art. Tang Soo Do teaches mental and physical training which involves the application of co-ordinated agility, dynamic mobility, power, whole body endurance, flexibility and special awareness to complex body movements. These include stances, patterns (forms), breathing exercises, self defence, hand and foot techniques, sparring and free fighting. 
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Tennis or lawn tennis is a racquet sport, enjoying a long and proud history in the UK. It can be played between either two players (singles) or two teams of two players (doubles). Players use the racquet to hit the ball over the net into the opponent's court, with the rules of the modern game being easy to learn. Anyone can play, whether you’re a boy or girl, 5 or 95, live in London or Land’s End. This is why 3 million people in the UK play tennis, as you only have one other person to organise! There are clubs and public tennis courts across the county.
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Tenpin bowling

Ten-pin bowling is a competitive activity in which a player (the ‘bowler’) rolls a bowling ball down a wooden or synthetic ‘lane’ with the objective of scoring points by knocking down as many pins as possible. Countless people try their hand at tenpin bowling each year and to most of them the physical act of rolling a bowling ball is fun and relaxing, and a great family activity. But for those who wish to progress, there are a number of structured leagues to compete in.
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Trampolining is a sport in which gymnasts perform acrobatics while bouncing on a trampoline. These can include simple jumps in the pike, tuck or straddle position to more complex combinations of forward or backward somersaults and twists. Trampolining provides a great body workout, promoting muscle co-ordination, balance and stability as well as providing a fast exchange between freedom/relaxation and exertion. 
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Triathlon is an athletic event consisting of swimming, cycling and running over various distances. In most modern triathlons, these events are placed back-to-back which means that the competitor’s time includes the time required to switch between disciplines, including the time taken to change clothes and shoes! It’s a great way to combine three fantastic challenges.
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Tug of war

Tug of war is a competitive activity where two teams attempt to pull the other over a set marker, whilst gripped to a strong taut rope. It’s a test of strength and of strategy. And it can be huge fun!
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Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee is the most fun you can have with a plastic flying disc! It’s a non-contact competitive team sport, which both men and women can play together. The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc into the opposing end-zone, similar to an end-zone in American football or Rugby. Players may not run while holding the disc. Although frequently compared to sports like football, Ultimate has some unique features that set it apart. Namely there are no referees - meaning a big emphasis on the spirit of the game – fair play, fun and sportsmanship. At the highest level, players require speed, agility and endurance, yet beginners will find the game easy to learn and incredibly fun to play.
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Volleyball is an Olympic sport in which two teams, separated by a high net, use their hands, arms or (sometimes) other parts of their bodies to hit a ball back and forth over the net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court. Numerous other variations of volleyball have now been developed, including beach volleyball. 
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Wakeboarding is a water sport which involves riding the wake of a speed boat on a single board. It was developed from a combination of water skiing, snow boarding and surfing techniques. The number of places where you can take part in the sport in England is growing - on a lake or river being pulled by cable tow or at sea!
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Water Polo

Water polo is a team water sport. The play consists of a two teams of six field players and one goalkeeper. It involved elements of swimming, throwing and catching, having strong similarities to the land-based game of handball. The winner of the game is the team that scores more goals. Why not see if the game is played at your local pool?
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Water Skiing

Water skiing is a surface water sport where an individual is pulled behind a motor boat or cable ski on a body of water. They may participate by skiing on two skis, one ski, riding a wakeboard or a kneeboard, barefoot, or on a disc or other means of keeping afloat! And best of all you don’t need to own a speed boat to take part, as many more facilities are springing up with cable ski installations, making participation in this sport much more affordable. 
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Windsurfing combines sailing and surfing – no surprise there!  The board is known as a sailboard and is usually two to five meters long and powered by a single sail. A windsurfer is steered by the tilting and rotating of the mast and sail as well as tilting and ‘carving’ the board. Windsurfing combines the thrills of surfing with the tranquillity of sailing and certainly puts you in touch with nature. It’s a sport that you can do by yourself or sail with a crowd of windsurfers from unbeatable comradery! Regular windsurfing can keep you in very good shape. It works a lot of major muscle groups, and you can make it as strenuous as you want
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Weightlifting is an Olympic sport in which competitors attempt to lift heavy weights mounted on steel bars called barbells. This requires power, flexibility, and technique. Competitors compete in one of eight (seven for women) divisions determined by their body mass.
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White Water Rafting

White Water Rafting is a challenging recreational activity using an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other body of water. This is usually done on whitewater or different degrees of rough water, in order to thrill and excite the raft passengers.For more information go to:


Wrestling  is part of the martial arts. A wrestling match consists of physical engagement between two people in which each wrestler strives to get an advantage over, or control of, the opponent. Physical techniques used, include clinching, holding, locking, application of leverage and takedowns. Few sports require total use of the body, but wrestling is certainly one of those developing strength, balance, co-ordination, reaction time, speed, flexibility, body awareness and fitness. What is more wrestling is fun, and like other athletic pursuits, all the family can participate in various ways.
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Many people think that yoga is just stretching. But while stretching is certainly involved, yoga is really about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility. This is done through the performance of poses or postures, each of which has specific physical benefits. Anyone can start a yoga practice, even if you don't feel like you are very flexible or very strong. These things will develop over time. In addition to practicing the poses, yoga classes may also include instruction on breathing, call and response chanting, meditation, or an inspirational reading by the teacher. Some people find that the physical practice of yoga becomes a gateway into a spiritual exploration, while others just enjoy a wonderful low-impact workout that makes them feel great. Whatever your tendency, you will be able to find a yoga class that suits your style.  
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