If you’re like me, you’ve probably noticed that it’s extremely difficult to stay active as you get older. Growing up, I was always involved in sports. No matter the time of year, you could find me running up and down somebody’s basketball court. I’ve never been the type of person who enjoys exercise for the sake of exercise, but when you play a sport, working out just comes with the territory, and because winning is usually the goal, the exercise feels like less of a chore. Seriously, I practiced at least once, sometimes twice a day, and sometimes played 5 or 6 basketball games over the course of two days. I never realized how hard I was working until I stopped.
Unless you’re one of the few people who is lucky enough to play a sport at the professional level, by the time you’re done with high school/college, your days as a competitive athlete are over. There are lots of articles floating around the Internet about how difficult it can be to cope once you’re no longer part of a team, but no one seems to be discussing how difficult it can be to stay active. Seriously, no matter how much you love(d) your sport(s), you have to admit that the first time you didn’t have to get out of bed to go bust your ass at practice was a great day. After a few days and weeks of not being forced to work out, it can be easy to fall out of the habit completely. That’s exactly what happened to me.
After being an all-conference athlete in two sports during my senior year of high school, I decided that I didn’t want to play any sports in college. Cool, no big deal. During college, I remained active and played basketball in several intramural and pick-up leagues. I’ve always been a gym rat, so spending an entire day playing pick up and shooting around has always been my idea of a good time. I wasn’t playing as often as I’d been accustomed to, but I remained fairly active. I ate whatever I wanted, and never seemed to gain much weight and life was GOOD. Of course; however, after college, adulting got the best of me, and I found that I simply didn’t have the same amount of time to spend hanging out in gyms and playing basketball all day. Life (and my metabolism) caught up with me quickly, and without sports to keep me motivated and, quite frankly, give me a reason to work out, I quickly started putting on pounds.
Over the last year and a half I have made several failed attempts at getting active again, but after a few trips to the gym I get bored and lose motivation. The reality is that life after being a dedicated athlete is hard in more ways than one, and staying active without teammates and a coach to be accountable to can be ROUGH. My goal is to get back in good enough shape so that I can play basketball (get through an entire game without wanting to cry) again. I know I have a long way to go, but I also know that being done with sports doesn’t have to mean being done with fitness.