The Rio Olympics is only just around the corner. With so many different cultures, it’s no wonder that this world event really brings people together in sport and sportsmanship. It’s also no surprise that inspirational athletes like Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis-Hill inspire us all to take up sports we haven’t tried before. Now let’s take a look at Top 10 Olympic Sports! We also describe some of the health benefits they offer if you practice them.
1. 100m Sprint
This is the track event that everyone’s talking about. Every Olympics, the world gathers to see if the record for the fastest man and woman can be broken again. Sprinting is a great way to keep fit – and in fact, research has indicated that it’s the only form of conditioning which produces significant fat loss in a short amount of time.
2. Synchronised Swimming
This is most famously known as “water gymnastics and dance”. A relatively new sport – it’s been part of the summer Olympic programme since 1984. It’s notorious for improving flexibility, stamina and lung capacity. But it’s also great for your brain – remembering the routines keeps your memory in good shape too. Russia’s Anastasia Yermakova is a real inspiration in the synchronised swimming scene, owning five Olympic titles and 13 World Championship gold medals to her name.
3. 10m Platform Diving
Another great water event – but with a twist! Performed from a springboard into a pool at least 5 metres deep, it’s no wonder diving is a mesmerizing Olympic sport. With so many different moves – backdive, layout and reverse dive, the health and physique development benefits are endless.
4. High Jump
Now this field event will definitely put a spring in your step! Athletes have to sprint down a runway at least 15 metres long, taking off on one foot only over a crossbar 4 metres long, without touching it. The winner is the athlete who clears the greatest height. This sport not only develops the muscular benefits of running, but the jump itself requires strong flexibility and precise skill.
Keeping you on your toes here, this is the act of running and jumping over obstacles while approaching with speed. This make or break track event is not only a fantastic cardiovascular workout, it also involves good judgment and spatial awareness in order to avoid clipping or knocking down the hurdles – give it a whirl sometime!
This is one of the many exciting middle-distance events at the Olympics. It’s been included since the beginning of the most modern Olympic games in 1896. This track event requires the combination of stamina and speed, hence developing skills along with both aerobic and anaerobic training which creates good all-round fitness.
British inspiration Jessica Ennis-Hill won gold at the London 2012 Olympics – no doubt the Rio Olympics will give her another opportunity to shine. Promoting great all-round fitness, the heptathlon involves taking part in seven set events: 100m hurdles, shot put, high jump, long jump, 200m, javelin and 800m. To excel at the heptathlon, endurance, stamina and a variety of skills are key.
8. 4 x 100m Relay
Now this will really amp up your sense of team spirit! This sprint event involves four competitors each running 100m and passing on the baton to a next runner. Passing the baton on to your teammate is an acquired skill, as the receiver typically does not look backwards. In 2012 the winning men’s team was Jamaica and the winning women’s team was the record-breaking USA.
Slow and steady wins the race? This popular long-distance running event tests aerobic endurance to the max! British sports star Mo Farah showed the world his ability in 2012 when he secured the gold.
Every stage of the race is crucial -especially the last few laps, when quickening your pace is essential to positioning yourself frontline for a win.
10. 4 x 100m Swimming Medley
Now this swimming event is one like no other. The combination of all four strokes – freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly – is an all-round workout for the entire body.
It can either be swum in a team of four or as an individual medley (IM). This unique sport not only strengthens most muscles – it also improves bone strength, and is of particular benefit to sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis.