For me, one of the most exciting aspects of sport is the fact that we are always creating new and different activities.
Human imagination and ingenuity are often behind a new way of having fun and keeping fit, and often new sports emerge when a group of friends simply tweaks an existing sport.
In other examples, technology can lend a helping hand – I’m especially thinking of all the connected equipment and virtual training that we’ve seen grow in popularity during the pandemic.
But now the cooler winter weather is upon us. So why not mix up your fitness activities with one of a growing number of new sports emerging on the scene?
I’ve identified several “new” sports that you might find fun.
And who knows, one day they might be added to the Olympics!
Started in Denmark in 2013 by a man called Mark Aaron, this barefoot power sprinting event involves swimming and running over 110 metres.
It can take place over long or short courses, with a full size (long course) running track of 60 metres long, and a 50-metre swimming pool.
The short course involves 30-metre running and 25-metre swimming. Take-off for the dive must be with your foot within a target disc at the end of the running track.
The winner is the first contestant to touch the wall at the end of the swim. Sounds fun…right?
Some of us may find this hardcore. And it’s meant to be. But perhaps we can draw inspiration from the concept behind sports like Earthing.
Danes (and Scandinavians in general) are renowned for their love of the great outdoors. It’s one of the factors that contribute to its reputation as one of the world’s “happiest countries”.
The philosophy of friluftsliv is something we could all make more time for. It essentially means living life outdoors, something the UAE can’t actively enjoy throughout the year.
But when cooler climes arrive, we should all make more time for the great outdoors – and swap the gym for the beach and desert.
Next on the list is Knuckle Racket. Which sounds like a lot of fun.
Not quite such a new sport, having been created in Florida in 2009, this is an activity that is still very much emerging on the sports scene.
Basically, players punch the ball around a racquetball court – the racket net is over your knuckles. Think of it as combining boxing and racquetball. So, how can this sport help you stay fit?
Firstly, it’s a great alternative to boxing lessons. It teaches you the basics of boxing while also being a little alternative, giving you yet another interesting thing to talk about with your coworkers and friends. But let’s get back to its fitness perks.
Knuckle Racket is a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. It does your whole body good – from your chest and core to your back and legs.
If you like the sound of Knuckle Raquet, you will probably like Hantis too.
Hantis – hand tennis – is a simple, fun game that can be played indoors or outdoors, all you need is four tables and a ball.
The idea of the game, which draws inspiration from table tennis and tennis, is to keep the ball in play by using your hands, feet and the tables. Cool, contemporary, and competitive. What’s not to like?
This was created in Australia in 2015. This one or two-person team game is based broadly on rugby football and is played with an oval-shaped ball.
The idea is to get the ball over the opposing team’s line, but only by kicking – and it enables people who might only play one type of ball game to play with those who favour other types of ball games.
Blo-ball is basically table tennis without the paddles. A fun sport for everyone, all you need to do is blow a ball across a table. A great reason for smokers to quit! Blo-ball can be played in sets of two and four players.
What I particularly love about blo-ball is that it casually nudges everyone out of their comfort zone.
The problem with mainstream sports like table tennis is that some people have spent more time playing it than others.
This gives them an unfair advantage, especially if it’s at a family barbecue where the main goal is to have fun together. Blo-ball is new, competitive, and somewhat silly, making it the perfect recipe for a fun time.
And finally, there’s Padel.
While by no means a new sport, padel seems to be taking Dubai by storm, with games and clubs popping up everywhere this year.
It’s a combination of tennis and squash and a great game for all-round fitness.
If you’ve tried all these new sports and want to try something else, why not invent your own? Start by deciding how many players the sport would need, then experiment with the rules, and finally, give it a name!