Top Endurance Sports RANKED by ESPN

Endurance sport is commonly thought of as an athletic endeavor involving sustained physical exertion, where “key muscles are exercised at submaximal intensity for prolonged periods of time” – whew! But there is definitely not universal agreement on which sports fall into this category, and to what extent they do so. What is seen as an endurance activity to some may not be to others. So… who decides?

ESPN assembled a group of experts in the fields of sports science, kinesiology, and journalism to rank a list of sports they believed exemplified endurance. Then, ESPN website visitors were invited to do the same. The results may surprise you:

Top Endurance Sports:

Expert POV
  1. Distance Cycling / Distance Track (Tie)
  2. Distance Swimming
  3. Nordic Skiing
  4. Boxing
  5. Rowing
  6. Water Polo
  7. Soccer
  8. Speed Skating
  9. Basket Ball
Regular Guy POV
  • Orienteering
  • Triathlon
  • Rowing
  • Water Polo
  • Road Cycling
  • MMA
  • Boxing
  • Ultimate (Fighting)
  • Rugby
  • Freestyle Swimming

Experts and Sports Enthusiasts overlapped on only 5 sports In the Top 10 Endurance Sport list, with ‘Orienteering’ – navigational racing in challenging terrain – not even present as an expert pick. While the professionals analyzed endurance literally, the lay respondents likely factored subconscious measures like analytical ability, concentration, agility, and strength into their equation. There was one sport on which both groups agreed: In terms of Endurance Sorts, Fishing came in dead last.