Do you want to know which sport have the fittest athletes, or which sport is the most physically demanding? You may never know for sure, but we are going to investigate, compare and discuss, to try and find out.
Fitness itself is hard to define, so it makes this often asked and debated question equally difficult to define. Here we are interested in the SPORT which requires the greatest overall demands of fitness, and not necessarily the sport with the fittest athlete or greatest athlete. See also about tests and methods for determining the fittest sport.
Fittest Sport Competition
Using a similar approach to that used by ESPN in a competition to determine the World's Greatest Athlete, we decided to hold our own competition using a similar format, but this time compare the sports themselves rather than the athletes, to determine the world's most physically demanding sport. After months of voting, the winner was ironman triathlon!
Other Top Fittest Sports Lists
- ESPN Most demanding Sports — list of which sports are the most demanding, as determined by a panel of experts at ESPN. They think it is boxing.
- Top-10 Ranking of the World's Most Demanding Sport — finally motocross gets top billing as the most demanding according to online votes
- Forbes 'Healthiest Sports' — using a few components of fitness plus a couple of other factors to compare sports, they found squash to be the healthiest sport to gain fitness.
- My Fittest Sport List — my top 10 sports considered to be among the highest in fitness requirements. I think it is boxing too.
- Calculated Fittest Sport — using a list of factors of success in sports, and ranking just the fitness components of these for a range of sports, we created a list of the World's Fittest Sports. Boxing again.
- Your Fittest Sport List — Using site visitor's ranking of the fitness components of a range of sports, we determined what you think are the World's Fittest Sports - current leader is waterpolo.
- Men's Journal List — analysis of sports determined gymnastics to be the most demanding.
Is one of these the world's fittest sport?
- Methods for determining the fittest sport
- Who is the World's fittest athlete?
- The greatest athlete of all time?
- Sports That Can Help You Stay Fit
- Other sport specific lists
- More about the World of Sport
Commenting is closed on this page, though you can read some previous comments below which may answer some of your questions.
- I believe Formula 1 drivers are among the most fit athletes of any sport in the world and formula 1 racing has a high physiological demand, they have to train at 9G (9 times against gravitational force) for breathing' (from VENKATESH ARJUNAN, July 2022)
- The fittest athletes are international swimmers. The reason is because there is no shock loading on the body they do not have to limit the duration of training and can push themselves harder, MY daughter was a competitive swimmer and she was spotted because after exercise her heart rate was still very low. Bernard Simkins (June 2022)
- There is no other sport requiring the physical fitness to use every muscle in your body for 30 + min, without breaks huddles, timeouts etc...continuous. at the intensity and level of endurance. As the sport of
MOTOCROSS.....period. these athletes are today's gladiators. Racerx (2014)
- HAHAHA.. thanks, been a long day and that really cheered me up. motocross athletes and gladiators in the same sentence.. just brilliant - period ;) Jas webb racerx (2014)
- Ive played, D1 Rugby, Boxed Professionally (low level), Qualified twice for the Triathlon National Championships, Raced RAAM (race across America), I currently race bicycles, and I raced motocross for almost 25 years. Believe it or not, motocross is the hardest I've played. I dont even know why, the 30 minutes (or even 15 minutes), are the wildest you will ever live (outside of maybe real combat, im military). The intensity is unequaled. In every other sport ive participated in there are ways to relax, get a slight breather, or a break in play. In motocross if you back off, you lose speed. It makes no difference to me what others think, I love all the sports I play (or I wouldnt have played them), but motocross required the highest level of fitness. That is if you wanted to be even remotely decent. Chris jas webb (2014)
- Indoor competitive Badminton gets my vote every time. It's relentlessly mind blowing fast and exciting action. You have to truly seek out the real sport of Badminton to come to respect it for the real beast it truly is. It'll blow your mind completely, Promise! These top World Champion athletes are in super shape. It's the best cardio vascular aerobic workout in a short time, a n d its FUN! You must consider that the fastest shuttlecock speed in the Guinness Book is a mind numbing blistering 303 mph, which converts over to 493kph. How's that for power and dexterity? Can't go wrong, period! Shuttlecocker (2017)
- Cross Country Skiing! They have the highest recorded VO2 Max in the world, every muscle in the body is used, and it's at altitude. Anon (2017)
- Let's get objective here for a mo. It's actually quite an easy question to answer. If one looks at the only really objective measurement of "fitness" , i.e. VO2 max, the sport whose athletes dominate the best rankings is cross-country skiing. Both for men and women. David Hughes (2014)
- That depends if you're ignoring all the factors of fitness besides V02. Strength, flexibility, agility, speed, power they're all used more in boxing. Mark O'Mahony (2017)