Top 10 Sports for Former Athletes

Written by: Editorial Staff

September 20, 2010
Filed Under Sports 

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Contributed by Robert P. Simon, Info Guru

For many former athletes it’s hard to forget the glory days. After leaving college I found that there was something missing in my workaday life.

The monotony of a work and sleep cycle left me wanting more, and regular exercise, while relaxing, could never replace the thrill of competition.

At the same time, I had to face the fact that neither my body or my schedule could support the everyday toll of training for a basketball or football season, and few intramural leagues offer a serious atmosphere. I began training as a competitive powerlifter, and now find the thrill of setting goals and testing myself against other athletes is once again a part of my life.

While what I choose may not be the right sports path for you, one of the activities in my top 10 sports for former athletes should be:

10. Bowling

The least physically demanding activity on my list, and debatably not even a sport, bowling is nevertheless an excellent outlet for anyone who is looking for a competitive but casual after-work activity. There is true skill in being a good bowler, and any local bowling alley is sure to have a serious league to whet your competitive appetite.

9. Swimming

Swimming is a no-impact sport that is as good a whole-body workout as you can find. While there aren’t an awful lot of swimming ‘leagues,’ residents of any city that sits adjacent a body of water can find popular outdoor races to train for during the right seasons.

8. Sailing

The price of entry (and the learning curve) can be high, and you’ll need to live in a city with a large enough body of water, but competitive sailing can offer a thrill that few other sports on this list boast: Teamwork. Sailing can be physically demanding and high-pressure, but it’s also a wonderful way to enjoy a day on the water, and there are few chances in individual sports to feel like you’re a part of a finely tuned crew working for a singular cause.

7. Weightlifting

For the gym rats who just can’t settle for ‘taking it easy,’ either power lifting or bodybuilding is an option. Hard work, consistency and perseverance are critical for success in either of these endeavors, and the level of intensity in a ‘hardcore gym’ is unmatched. Be warned, though, competitive power lifting is about pushing the body to its true limits– a high pain threshold is a must, and if you stick with it injury is almost an inevitability.

6. Softball

Like bowling, softball isn’t always the most physically strenuous sport, but it does offer a great after-work challenge. The level of competition can range from true beer leaguer to super-serious former baseball players, but the experience of being a part of a team and winning a close game won’t be found in the other sports on my list.

5. Cycling

No-impact, high-speed, and extremely popular, cycling is a great option for the athlete whose body can no longer take the pounding required by running or jumping. As an added bonus, you can get your daily training in, cut back on your carbon emissions, and shave time off your commute by biking to work every day.

4. Distance Running

Running a marathon is the ultimate goal for so many weekend warriors, and for good reason. The satisfaction of completing a 26 mile race after months of consistent and well-thought training is difficult to match. The level of commitment is entirely up to you, but running is probably the simplest and most popular sport in existence, and becoming a successful distance runner is a very significant accomplishment.

3. Triathalon

A step beyond simple distance running, triathlon combines running, swimming and biking to create a true test of physical fitness and mental toughness. There is perhaps no better indicator of an iron will and overall fitness than completing a triathlon at any distance.

2. Raquetball

Racquetball is fast and intense; it can be as challenging as you want, and the level of competition is entirely up to you and your opponent. The cardio demands are high, but it’s possible for an aging athlete to play at a high level given the limited sprinting distances and high level of strategy required.

1. Golf

‘Intense’ and ‘strenuous’ may not be the first words that jump to mind when one thinks of golf, but it is wildly popular for a reason. The level of skill required can be maddeningly high, but somehow the learning curve is always just slow enough to keep a beginner interested. Golf is a sport that you can play and improve at well into old age, and it requires a level of concentration and psychological toughness that is unmatched.

The key to finding a sport to replace the SPORT of your youth is to do an honest assessment of your physical condition (including old sports injuries), talent and the amount of time you have to invest in getting – and staying – in shape. Select a challenge, and then give it your best.


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