If you played sports in high school, you know you’ll always be an athlete at heart. Sure, you could just stay in shape by hitting the treadmill or the weights and calling it a day. But chances are, there’s a more engaging workout out there for you — one that takes advantage of the sports skills you worked so hard to sharpen as a kid.
Which activity is it? That depends on what you used to play in high school. Not an ex-athlete? No worries, we have options for you, too!
Here are workouts worth trying based on your old school sport — or lack thereof.
If you played soccer…
Sprint, rest. Sprint, rest. Sprint, rest. Soccer is the ultimate form of interval training, so try workouts that deliver the high-intensity rush you love.
“High-intensity interval training sprints outdoors mimic the sprints you would do on the soccer field,” says Brett Hoebel, author and creator of “The 20 Minute Body” and a trainer on "The Biggest Loser: Couples 4."
Hit up a class at a CrossFit studio, or do a fast high-intensity home workout.
If you played basketball…
Try another sport that takes advantage of your agility, like tennis. “Your body is already preconditioned to thrive in short bursts, so you’ll get around as quickly as possible,” says Luke Milton, a personal trainer and founder of Training Mate in West Hollywood.
Plus, you’ll use the same hand-eye coordination and special awareness that you honed back in your b-ball days.
If you played football…
Chances are, you’ll get a major thrill from other high-energy, physically aggressive sports like mixed martial arts (MMA) or boxing. You’ll be a natural, too, since they call for the same sort of technical focus.
“That’s one reason why many former high level football players become some of the best MMA fighters,” Hoebel says.
If you played volleyball…
You likely spent years honing your flexibility and range of movement, so put them to use in a yoga class. You’ll leverage your height and your agility, while the supportive group setting will echo back to practices with your team, says Milton.
Since you likely crave dynamic movement, pick a fast-paced class like Vinyasa or power yoga.
If you were on the swim team…
You might like the meditative nature of distance running or bicycling. Like swimming, both are aerobic endurance sports that give you that tranquil, flow-like feeling once you get into your groove. “And they offer the same type of solitude you experience by yourself in the pool,” says Hoebel.
If you ran track…
You’ll feel right at home doing sprints or running routines on a force treadmill, Hoebel says. Unlike regular treadmills, force treadmills are motorless and require you to propel or force the treads forward, so it feels just like you’re running on the ground.
Find them at fitness studios like SpeedPlay or major gyms such as 24 Hour Fitness.
If you were on the cheerleading squad…
The high energy, built-in rhythm, and choreographed style of dance-inspired workouts will feel like a natural fit for you. Plus, “the environments are supportive and team-oriented,” Milton says.
The class opportunities are practically endless, so pick one based on a dance style that sounds fun to you. Always wanted to do ballet? Try Barre. Love listening to hip hop? You’ll probably have a blast at a hip hop dance class.
Prefer to stay at home? Try a DVD by Tracy Anderson or Body By Simone.
If you were a band member or bookworm…
Try something non-competitive that doesn’t require a sport-specific skill, like walking or hiking. Both are low-key activities that get your body used to being active.
Once you feel comfortable, try a couple of different beginner exercise classes that seem appealing to you.
“See what environment you’re drawn to and makes you feel comfortable,” Milton says. “The best workout is the one you’re going to stick with, so focus on finding that place that makes you feel at home.”
What Do YOU Think?
Which sport did you play as a child or teenager, and what activities do you most enjoy now? If you didn't play organized sports in school, which physical activities do you enjoy today? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!