It’s been almost a month since my cheer season ended (you should read some of my older posts about cheer if you’re new to my blog), and it’s been really nice to open up so much free time in my schedule. However, I’m definitely not the most in-shape person and I would rarely exercise outside of cheer practices, so I’ve been left to figure out how to stay in-shape and get myself outside and moving. I know this happens to a lot of other high-schoolers and college students when they quit a sport and are left with no physical activity scheduled into their life for the first time in years, so I figured I would talk about how I’m dealing with it and what I think could help others.
A lot of my friends who also ended their high school sports “career” as well ended up joining a gym. I think this is awesome if it works for you, especially if it’s a local gym since lots of other kids your age/your friends might go there as well, but I wasn’t interested in spending the money and committing to something I probably wouldn’t take full advantage of since I can’t drive yet. However, if you can afford it and you’ll be motivated to go, getting a gym membership is a great idea, especially if you have a gym buddy or two.
For those looking to go a different route, I’m in the same boat as you. It’s super important to keep being active, not just for the sake of looking in shape, but for your physical health and mental well-being. I always notice that being outside and doing physical activity reduces stress since it lets off steam. If you’re unathletic like me, I recommend starting with walks around your neighborhood or local park just to get outside. If you want something a little more intense, you can do jogs/runs.
If you’re looking for a fun weekend physical activity, I highly recommend hiking. I’m lucky enough to live in California with tons of hikes of varying difficulty that are accessible year-round, but I’m sure you can find some spot near you as long as the weather is favorable. It might not be something you have time to do everyday, but it could be a way to switch up your typical weekend hangout with friends while getting outdoorsy. I enjoy hikes because the beautiful views usually outweigh any fatigue I may experience.
If all else fails, just try something new. Popular options are cycling classes (SoulCycle is definitely the most well-known one, but I believe the owner or someone associated with the company has some questionable publicly-expressed values), yoga classes, Zumba classes, or other forms of workout classes. I’ve never tried any of these, but I hope to in the near future since a lot of my friends rave about them and there’s a lot of different options near me.
As far as my personal physical activity right now, I actually got transferred into a PE class for the rest of the semester/school year, so I’m outside for at least an hour a day doing some form of exercise. It kind of sucks to add another class after having a few weeks experiencing going home from school earlier and not having cheer, but I still need one more semester of P.E. credits and if I finish out this semester P.E. class, I’ll be done with that. It’s also actually kind of nice to having some form of physical activity built into my schedule again.
I hope this helped you out or at least made you realize you’re not alone if you’re young and trying to figure out how to stay in shape and active after quitting a sport. I feel like sports are such a typical part of the high school experience and being involved in one was a part of my identity at school for so long, but I’m glad to be able to move on with my life and explore new things- new ways to exercise is just one tiny portion of that!