Skip to main content

How to Get in Shape - 10 Physical Activities to Reintroduce Sports After a Long Break

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Mazlan has a passion for health and fitness. He enjoys yoga, cycling, home workouts, and healthy food.


How to Get in Shape

You been busy with your work or just recovered from an injury or had a baby. Or the COVID-19 pandemic stopped you from your regular sports and fitness routine.

So you took a long break from sports and you gained couple more pounds.

Now you are ready to get back into shape and lead a healthy lifestyle.

It is not going to be easy but if you do it slowly it will lead to a pleasurable experience. So, how to get back to exercising after a long break?

Returning to Sports and Physical Activity

Reintroducing sports and health back to your lifestyle is like changing your habit. Your mind and body may accept or reject it. It is important to take up sports that involve others to give you the needed push, motivation, and encouragement.

To get back in shape you need to do exercise or play sports that give strength, cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility.

Let's review the following top 10 sports that will get you back into your exercise routine and for health.

10. Try Volleyball

Volleyball is probably one of the easiest sport to start with. It doesn't demand too much running or sprinting and is easy on your heart. However, it is a team sport played by six players on each side. You need to get at least eleven of your friends or family members to play. You can, however, made do with four players on each side.

Volleyball Benefits:

  • increase your agility.
  • improves your hand-eye coordination and reflexes.
  • increase your thighs and lower legs, arm, and shoulder strength.
  • increase your cardiovascular workout with the vertical jump.
  • the constant motion burns off the calories
  • boosts concentration.

9. Table Tennis Game (Also Known as Ping-Pong)

This is a great sport to work up a sweat and to pump your heart rate up. It is relatively cheap and you play according to your own limitations but you can still work out a sweat.

Since this is a two or four-person game, it is a great game during the lockdown.

Table Tennis Benefits:

  • improve your cardiovascular system.
  • strengthen your leg, arms, abdomen, abs, and back muscles without risking serious injury.
  • improve your reflexes, balance, and hand-eye coordination.
  • it is easy on the joints.
  • the game simultaneously uses many different areas of the brain - this keeps your brain sharp.

7. Get in Shape Fast With Cycling

If cycling sounds boring then go in groups or in pairs. This is more fun and you get motivation from others. Cycling is also a great cardiovascular exercise.

If you have no other options, use the indoor cycling exercise machine instead. It is better than doing nothing.

Cycling Benefits:

  • improve your cardiovascular fitness
  • strengthen your muscular system of the legs, hips, back, and abs
  • improve your stamina
  • burn up calories.
  • improve joint mobility.
  • improve posture and coordination.

6. Start Working Out Again With Rowing

While it is not the most easily accessible form of sport, rowing is one of the few total body sports available. If you have never rowed before don't worry. You will pick it up quickly as rowing is a natural motion. You can row alone or with a friend or with three or seven other friends.

Alternatively, buy the indoor rowing machine as this machine is proven to use up to 86% of your muscles.

Scroll to Continue

Rowing Benefits:

  • improve your cardiorespiratory health
  • builds up your endurance and flexibility
  • gives a total body workout that exercises the arms, chest, legs, abs, back, and abs.
  • it is a low-impact sport and it is easy on your ankles and knees.
  • high-calorie burner (because it uses so many muscle groups)

5. Running or Jogging

Running can be a challenge as you have to be persistent and consistent to get results. If you need the push and motivation, run with a buddy instead of jogging alone.

Running outdoors gives you a far better therapeutic benefit than jogging on a treadmill. Make sure you get a good pair of running shoes.

Jogging Benefits:

  • strengthen your lower body, hips, back, and waistline.
  • builds up cardio respiratory endurance.
  • will not give you bulky muscle, but will increase your leg strength.
  • help improve stamina.

4. Tennis Your Way Back in Shape

As a form of exercise, tennis is a total body workout sport. It is full of high-intensity bursts and gives strong cardiovascular health.

If you are a beginner or has laid off tennis for a while you should use a racket that has a wider head. This minimizes your possibility of missing the ball.

For advanced and experienced players the narrower head will give more power & accuracy.

I used to play with a wooden racket but this is out of style now. Nowadays, they use synthetic materials that are lighter and more aerodynamic.

Tennis Benefits:

  • give you a strong cardio workout
  • develop strong leg muscles
  • workout your abs
  • your upper body workout will include strengthening your arm and shoulder muscles
  • improve your agility
  • burn calories - you will be constantly moving and pausing, it's like doing interval exercise - where your heart rate will go up, then down. This increases your metabolic rate and hence burns calories faster.
  • good for your brain as you need mental alertness, critical and tactical thinking by making connections in the brain.

3. Basketball Game

Basketball is one of the most common and popular sports in the world. It is both easy and beneficial to practice and can be played with family members.

But it is a fast-moving game. So take it easy for the first month and increase your speed and agility as you progress into the sport. Just like tennis, basketball is a sport with lots of starting and stopping. This increases your metabolic rate and hence, burn more calories faster.

Basketball Running Workout

Basketball involves a lot of running, sprinting, and jumping. It is, therefore, wise to get a good pair of basketball shoes. Initially, you may fall and injure yourself, so get elbow and knee guards as well.

Basketball Benefits:

  • burn your calories fast
  • strengthen your cardiorespiratory system
  • increase your whole body endurance
  • builds up your leg muscles as you sprint and jump higher
  • builds up your abs, shoulder, and arm muscles with your dribbling, bounding, passing, and shooting
  • improve your coordination and balance
  • increase your concentration level and self-discipline

2. Ultimate Frisbee for Both Fun and Exercise

Ultimate Frisbee is one of the youngest sport games around. It is now commonly known as Ultimate (as Frisbee is a registered name/trademark in some countries).

It is a fun way to give your whole body a workout. Players spend the two-hour game running up and down the field, jumping, twisting, and turning to catch discs. This gives a great cardio workout and is affordable to play.

Ultimate Frisbee Benefits:

  • burn calories faster, as this is similar to interval training with stop and run that builds up the metabolic rate.
  • increase endurance and agility.
  • improve your cardiovascular endurance.
  • strengthen your legs, shoulders, and arm muscles.
  • strengthen your oblique and abs muscles.
  • boost social interactions.

1. Return to Swimming

Swimming is my favorite sport and it is one of the safest and most beneficial. It is also one of the few sports that work out almost all of your body muscles.

It is the best choice for cardio respiratory health and for overall muscular endurance. If you have a bad knee problem, swimming is an extremely kind and easy sport on your knee. It does not impose body weight on your knee due to buoyancy.

Swimming Benefits:

  • increase your cardiovascular fitness & endurance.
  • builds your total body muscular strength and endurance especially on your legs, abs, shoulders, and arms.
  • improve your body flexibility. The swimming strokes and gentle rhythmic movements help to lengthen and stretch your muscles. This gives you a lean and not a bulky muscle tone.
  • burns your calories and helps with weight management.
  • the buoyancy takes some impact stress off your body.

Sports for Health

Have you decided on which sports to choose? Pick one to get back into shape and enjoy a new healthy lifestyle.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Mazlan A


Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on June 15, 2012:

@ChloeHibb Thanks for taking time to read and comment. If you run, then try another sport that will exercise your upper body as well, like volleyball? It's a fun family game

Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on March 09, 2012:

Hi Natashalh, yes you are absolutely right, dancing is a great and fun way to work out. I am one of those people that doesn't seem to remember the steps after 1 or 2 minutes later. So in my gym I do yoga, spinning and other strength exercises. I prefer group exercise as it will push and motivates me. If I do cardio exercises like cycling/spinning or running on a treadmill alone, I tend to give up too soon.

Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on March 09, 2012:

Hi CyclingFitness, thanks for dropping by. I see that you are a cyclist yourself. Unfortunately I spin in the gym and just came back from doing my 50 mins spinning class.

Natasha from Hawaii on March 09, 2012:

I love dancing. There are many social dances you can do that are so much fun they don't even feel like a workout. You can get healthy, make new friends and have fun, all at the same time.

Liam Hallam from Nottingham UK on March 09, 2012:

Some fantastic options to improve someones health. Thanks for sharing.

Related Articles