Playing sports is a great way to improve your mental and physical well-being. Not only will it help you manage your body fat, strengthen your muscles and bones, and boost your stamina and cardiovascular strength, it also helps you fight anxiety and depression, improve your concentration and focus, and connects you with like-minded people.
Ask anyone about the first thing they think of when they hear the word “sports,” and you’ll most likely get the same answers: basketball, football, soccer, and baseball. That’s understandable, given that these aren’t just team sports to most people whose lives revolve around these activities. Rather, they’re one of the most popular forms of entertainment these days, with a dedicated fan base of millions of people tuning in per game.
But there are some unique and unusual sports that are just as entertaining but don’t get nearly as much love. These peculiar past times are incredibly enjoyable, and they can also give you a great workout so you can keep fit and active. Here’s a list of some of the weirdest sports that can give you a great workout.
Calf roping is also known as tie-down roping. The sport involves an actual real-life cowboy or cowgirl — also known as ropers — who pursue a calf with lassoed callaway ropes in an attempt to dismount it. The roper will then tie down their three legs with what’s known as a pigging string. This can either be done individually or as a team with two ropers on two horses pursuing one calf. The sport is as crazy as it sounds, and it’s surprisingly physically demanding, requiring lots of coordination and strength.
Wife carrying is exactly what it sounds like — men carry their wives around an obstacle course full of water, sand, dirt, and physical hurdles. The sport originated in Finland, but it has spread to the U.S. and the UK. The rules dictate that the women being carried should wear a helmet weigh more than 49 kg, and be more than 17 years old. There are no restrictions as to how the wives can hold onto their husbands or how the husbands can carry their wives. Although the sport sounds ridiculous, it’s a physically strenuous sport that many people take very seriously.
Underwater hockey is pretty self-explanatory: two teams of six people play some sub-aquatic ice hockey, usually in a pool. This is a great way to build your endurance, cardiovascular fitness, and muscular strength since you’ll have to hold your breath for minutes at a time while trying to push a small puck using a stick towards a goal.
Bubble soccer is essentially soccer (or football, depending on where you’re from) that’s played while wearing a huge inflatable bubble. While it seems like a lot of silly fun, it’s actually quite difficult to play. There’re tons of rolling over, getting slammed by other players, and running to do, which makes it an excellent way to keep fit while having a good time with your friends.
Even if you didn’t receive your Hogwarts acceptance letter when you turned 11 years old, you can still channel your inner witch or wizard by playing Quidditch. No, you won’t be flying on a broomstick or seeking golden snitches, but you can still play a version of this magical sport that’s tailor-made for muggles. The game was originated in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont and adheres to the same set of mechanics (minus the magical elements) and rules that are laid out in the books.
Each team has its own beaters, chasers, a seeker, and a keeper. Dodgeballs and volleyballs are substituted for bludgers and quaffles, respectively. While the elusive snitch takes the form of a human being called the snitch runner, who wears a gold or yellow outfit and runs around the field as they’re chased by the seekers. What makes this a physically demanding activity is the fact that all players have to do a lot of running all while carrying a broomstick in between their legs.
Sepak Takraw has its roots in Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand and Malaysia where it was first played in the 1450s. The words “sepak” and “takraw” translated means “kick” and “ball” in Malay and Thai, respectively. The game is a combination of soccer and volleyball wherein either a team of three or a pair tries to land a small rattan ball in the other team’s court. Due to the highly athletic quality of the sport, this is another enjoyable way to work on your fitness.
As evidenced by these fun and unusual sports to try out, maintaining your mental and physical health doesn’t need to be boring or burdensome.