What Are the Best Forms of Exercise for People Who Dislike Sports?

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve never been into team sports. My interest in fitness didn’t develop until adulthood because all of the physical education classes I took in school were almost exclusively focused on basketball, football, volleyball, kickball, and baseball.

Since I wasn’t an athletic or coordinated kid by any stretch of the imagination, gym class wasn’t a useful or fun experience for me. Every year we played the same sports, and every year I reconfirmed my lifelong disinterest in those forms of exercise.

I’m not going to make assumptions about why – or even if –  anyone who reads this might also dislike sports, but my reasons for feeling that way could be summed up as such:

  1. Competition does nothing to encourage me to run faster or play harder. In fact, it has the exact opposite effect on me.
  2. As someone who didn’t (and honestly still doesn’t) have great eye-hand coordination, I was injured in gym class often enough that I began to negatively associate exercise with the pain I experienced every time I got hurt even though those injuries were always pretty mild.
  3. Sports, and especially team sports, are mind-numbingly boring to me. No offence to anyone who enjoys them, but I’d seriously rather watch paint dry.

One of the nicest parts of graduating college and becoming a full-fledged adult was realizing that I’d never again have to play any type of sport or participate in other athletic competitions.

Luckily, neither of these things are required in order to stay in shape. There are many cooperative and/or solo forms of exercise out there that I won’t be able to cover all of them in this post. What I am hoping to do is give a nice overview of things someone can try if they want to improve their fitness but have no interest at all in individual or team sports of any kind.

I’ve decided to split this list into two categories. The first one can be done without the need to buy, borrow, or otherwise gain access to any special equipment other than the clothing you might need to wear during it.

The items in the second one do require some sort of equipment.

No Equipment Needed

  • Walking (without or without a dog or other furry companion).
  • Jogging
  • Walking or running up stairs
  • Bodyweight exercises
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
  • Martial arts
  • Parkour
  • Housework (scrubbing the floors or tub, etc).
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Tai Chi
  • Arm wrestling

Equipment Needed

  • Swimming
  • Horseback riding
  • Obstacle courses
  • Skateboarding
  • Weightlifting
  • Gymnastics
  • Rowing
  • Roller blading
  • Geocaching 
  • Gardening and other yard work.
  • Hula hooping
  • Canoing
  • Skipping rope
  • Trampolining
  • Orienteering 
  • Freeze tag and other active childhood games
  • Laser tag
  • Rock climbing
  • LARPing

Ultimately, the “best” options will vary from one person to the next based on your interests and current level of physical fitness, of course, but I think these lists are a great place to start. I know I’m curious to try geocaching and Tai Chi one of these days. LARPing sounds like it might be interesting, too.

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Are you a competitive person? What forms of exercise do you prefer to do? What does your current workout routine look like?

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