Which Sport Should You Try Next? A Comprehensive Guide

So you’ve gone ahead and made the excellent decision to get your body moving… but you aren’t sure where to begin? Or you’re simply looking for something new? Being active and reaping the benefits of exercise means finding the type of physical activity that’s right for you – not just spending countless hours slaving away in the gym if it isn’t something that you truly enjoy. Here are some questions to consider…

Do you like music?

If the answer is yes, you might find yourself compatible with different styles of dance. There’s ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, latin/salsa, tap, capoeira (if you’re into a mix of dance and martial arts), jazz, folk, country, ballroom, etc. The list goes on. Dance has evolved over many centuries, but it has always been an art that flows through our veins as human beings.

If you’re interested in pursuing a style of dance, you can start by taking open classes, watching online videos, taking classes at your local community college, or even giving it a shot at-home. The great thing about this activity is that you can do it anywhere! If you like music, but are weary about dance… an alternative to consider could be running (with headphones, of course). Especially if you’re into upbeat music!

Do you like team sports? If so, would you prefer more or less cardio?

More Cardio:

Well, do you prefer using your hands or feet?

If you enjoy hand-based team sports that involve a great deal of cardio, the recommendation here would be basketball. You can be sure your heart will be pumping (especially if you’re playing full-court) when you are running up and down the court! Since basketball can be played indoors and outdoors, and also practiced in solitude… there’s a lot of flexibility that comes along with it. A hand-based sport alternative to basketball is lacrosse. Although it’s less common than basketball and football, it is actually the oldest organized sport in North America.

If you enjoy feet-based team sports (with a substantial amount of cardio), then soccer might be the sport for you. Similar to basketball, soccer also involves a lot of running! It can be a great way to join your community and be part of a team.

Less Cardio:

If you enjoy team sports, but want something a little lighter on the heart… then perhaps baseball/softball is the right choice for you. It’s still a great form of exercise, and it might be easier to catch your breath. An alternative to baseball/softball is kickball. Although it’s less professional, it can be a lot of fun! Whether it be baseball, softball, or kickball… you can be sure to build some up some adrenaline when scaling those bases!

On the flip side of the coin, do you like more individualized sports?

If being a team player isn’t your thing, then maybe golf is! Golf can even be practiced alone. Tennis is another option– although it can only be practiced alone utilizing a wall. With tennis, you also have the option to play singles or doubles. Both sports require a lot of focus and dedication, but they are oftentimes quite rewarding. You can begin by practicing on your own, or you can even enlist the help of a coach.

If you are looking for an activity that you can practice 100% alone, try archery! If you are looking for some solo time to recharge, this is a great option!

If you are seeking a solo sport that provides more cardio than archery, have you given swimming any thought? Depending on where you live, this activity can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors. The majority of gyms have swimming pools for their patrons. Even if you don’t have any prior experience, you can show up at the pool tomorrow and start swimming laps. If you want to learn about different styles of swimming (from the butterfly to the backstroke), the internet is an endless resource!

Do you enjoy setting goals and working towards them?

If you are a disciplined individual who enjoys the process of setting goals and completing those goals, then bodybuilding is likely a great match for you. Since a lot of components of bodybuilding or weight training can be quantified (weight, measurements, body fat percentage, weight lifted, etc.), tracking your progress is satisfying to these merit-focused individuals. Weight lifting can be done at both a personal level or even a professional level. You can choose to workout certain muscle groups, achieve certain personal records, and even prepare creative workout schedules.

Are you a patient individual? Or even someone looking to grow their patience and serenity?

If you are someone who values patience, yoga would be a smart fit for you. If you aren’t already a patient person, it might be beneficial for you to take part in this activity. It can also be a great mental health aid and provide you the meditation that you’ve been lacking. Benefits of yoga include: improved balance, stronger muscles, increased flexibility, decreased stress, better heart health, reduced anxiety, and even an improvement in posture.

If normal yoga is a little too boring for you (so much for the increased patience), then you should look into pilates, gymnastics, hot yoga, or even aerial yoga. In some states, they have even begun introducing bungee workouts! There are endless possibilities when it comes to staying active and having fun.

Do you live near a lake, bay, or beach?

If so, maybe it’s time to start engaging in some water sports.You can start with something easier, like paddleboarding… or dive right in and begin taking surfing lessons. There’s also canoeing, kayaking, and rowing. Another adventure-seeking option is water skiing!

Are you trying to grow your social group?

If you’re looking to join a recreational sports league, or even a non-competitive club, try brushing up on (or learning) volleyball, frisbee, spikeball, or pickleball. Sports are a great way to connect with others. There are groups out there that bring people together to play sports in both a competitive and non-competitive manner. Pickleball is gaining a lot of popularity lately, and it is much easier to pick up than tennis. There are leagues that you can join too, so you can reap the social benefits and physical benefits of the fun sport!

Do you enjoy spending time outdoors?

While the options are limitless when it comes to finding outdoor activities, some good ones to consider are: hiking, climbing, badminton, skateboarding, street hockey, roller skating, or even something as simple as walking your dog.

It doesn’t matter which sport(s) you choose, as long as you are having fun, being safe, and staying active. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, it probably isn’t worthwhile. There are so many sports out there… it is worth trying as many as you can, until you find your match. Most sports have sub-sports that may appeal to you at a different level (i.e. ballet vs. hiphop). This exemplifies why it is so important to have an open-mind and try new things. Which sports have you tried that you were pleasantly surprised by? Which sports have you always enjoyed? Are there any sports that you have always wanted to try, but haven’t gotten around to?

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