Last updated: November 8, 2023

Sports for introverts
Wander Healthy

Introverts face some unique challenges when it comes to sports. They’re just as capable as anyone else however, and quite possibly better, in finding the right fit for themselves and excelling. Here are the 11+ best sports for introverts, based on my experiences as an introvert through the years.

Best Sports for Introverts

“I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all.”

Simone Biles

1. Hiking

Hiking is one of my personal favorite sports because of the beautiful and amazing views and the constantly changing scenery. It can be a great activity for introverts for several reasons.

  • It provides an opportunity to be alone with one’s thoughts and recharge in a natural setting away from the noise and distractions of daily life.
  • It can provide a sense of accomplishment and self-sufficiency as you navigate new trails and reach new destinations.
  • It’s an excellent cardiovascular and leg workout.
  • It can be a low-pressure social activity, as it can be done alone or in small groups and can be less focused on social interaction than other activities.
  • It opens your mind to other healthy hobbies such as photography, bird watching, or painting.

For beginners interested in hiking, there are a few key steps to get started. First, it‘s important to choose a trail that matches your skill level and fitness level.

Many hiking trails are well-marked and graded for difficulty, and online resources such as AllTrails can provide helpful information about trail conditions and reviews from other hikers.

As a beginner, it can be helpful to start with shorter hikes and gradually increase the distance and difficulty level. Though not necessary, it can also be helpful to hike with a friend or group for safety and motivation.

Remember to bring proper gear, including sturdy shoes, healthy snacks, plenty of water, and appropriate clothing for the weather.

Finally, it’s important to respect the natural environment and practice Leave No Trace principles, which include packing out all trash and avoiding damaging vegetation or wildlife.

Hiking can be a fantastic activity for introverts, providing an opportunity to recharge in nature, feel a sense of accomplishment, and engage in a low-pressure social activity.  

2. Running

What I love most about running is the zone, the state of mind you achieve where problems seem to solve themselves and your creativity runs at top speed.

It’s not the same thing as a runner’s high, which is also wonderful in its own way. Running is the only sport that does this for me, so I appreciate it all the more.

Running is mostly a solo sport, although it does provide the opportunity to be social if you want to be. There are many benefits to running.

  • It provides an opportunity to be alone with your thoughts and to focus on personal goals and achievements.
  • It can provide a sense of empowerment and confidence as you push yourself physically and mentally.
  • It’s a flexible and low-pressure social activity, as it can be done alone or with a small group and can be less focused on social interaction than other activities.
  • It’s an excellent cardiovascular workout that can be done nearly anywhere.

For beginners interested in running, it’s important to choose appropriate gear, including comfortable running shoes and clothing that is appropriate for the weather. You can find good gear at specialized shoe stores or online.

As a beginner, it’s helpful to start with short intervals of running and walking, gradually increasing the running time as endurance improves. It’s also important to remember that running is a personal activity and should be done at your own pace and comfort level.

In sum, running can be a great activity for introverts, providing an opportunity to get some exercise and fresh air on their own terms.

3. Trail running

Trail running is a fantastic sport in which you run in nature, on trails. Pretty much a combination of hiking and running. Trail running can be a particularly good activity for introverts as it combines the benefits of running with the peacefulness and solitude of being in nature.

  • It provides an opportunity to disconnect from daily distractions and focus on personal goals and achievements.
  • It can be an empowering experience as you navigate rugged terrain and overcome obstacles.
  • It’s a flexible and low-pressure social activity, as it can be done alone or in small groups and can be less focused on social interaction than other activities.
  • It’s an excellent sport for improving your cardiovascular fitness, agility and spacial awareness.

It’s helpful to start with short, easy trails when you first start out and gradually increase the distance and difficulty level. As well as to have good shoes. I do not recommend trail running in the dark, as it’s easy to miss roots and stumps, even with a headlamp on.

Trail running is a wonderful sport for concentrating on your own objectives and accomplishments and feeling empowered.

bike riding

4. Biking

Biking comes in many forms – street biking, mountain biking, and trail biking. So there is something for everyone interested in this sport. It’s a great activity for introverts for several reasons.

  • It’s a fantastic opportunity for solo activity, allowing you to spend time alone with their thoughts and recharge your energy levels.
  • It can be a meditative experience, as the repetitive motion and focus required can help you achieve a state of flow and calmness.
  • It can also be a way to connect with nature and explore new areas, which can be a source of inspiration and relaxation.
  • It’s a wonderful workout for your heart and muscles, especially your leg muscles.

If you’re a beginner looking to get started with biking, there are a few things to consider. First, make sure you have the right equipment, including a comfortable bike, helmet, and appropriate clothing and shoes.  

It’s important to start slowly and gradually build up your endurance and strength. You can start with shorter rides on flat terrain and gradually increase the distance and difficulty over time.

Additionally, it’s important to stay safe while biking by following traffic laws, using hand signals, and wearing bright or reflective clothing if biking at night.

Finally, if and when you’re comfortable with it, consider joining a biking club or group to connect with other cyclists and get support and advice as you start your biking journey.

5. Paddling

Paddling is also one of my favorite sports for summer. It’s another great activity for introverts because it provides an opportunity to spend time alone in nature, away from the noise and crowds of everyday life.

  • It can be a peaceful and meditative experience, providing the opportunity to recharge energy levels and connect with your surroundings.
  • It can be a great way to challenge yourself physically and mentally, as it requires focus and skill to navigate through different water conditions and environments.
  • It’s a full body workout, but one in which you set the level of intensity based on your abilities, time and space.

There are a few things to consider when you first start paddling. First, choose the right type of watercraft for your skill level and where and what type of water you’ll be paddling on. Paddle boards and canoes are also a great options for beginners, as they are stable and easy to maneuver.

Next, make sure you have the appropriate safety equipment, including a life jacket, whistle, and other safety gear required by local laws. You can also take a paddling course or receive instruction from a qualified instructor to learn proper paddling technique and safety protocols.

Lastly, start with short paddles on calm water and gradually increase the distance and difficulty as you gain confidence and experience.

As you become more skilled and comfortable with paddling, you can explore different types of water and environments, such as rivers, lakes, and even the ocean.

As you increase in level, you will also want to reach out to others and coordinate paddles in more difficult waters, so that you’re not out there on your own.

Whatever your level however, paddling is an amazing sport for introverts because it gives you control over almost every aspect of your experience, from difficulty to social engagement to time commitment.

Golfing

6. Golf

Golf is a slower-paced and meditative sport, allowing introverts to recharge their energy levels and focus on their game.

  • It’s a challenging and strategic sport, requiring concentration and skill to navigate the course and make each shot count.
  • It allows you to spend time in nature, which boosts your mood and concentration.
  • It gets you moving, on whatever level you choose.

If you’re a beginner looking to get started with golf, make sure you have the right equipment to start with, including a set of golf clubs, golf balls, and appropriate clothing and shoes. You can rent the clubs and the ball until you’re ready to commit to the sport.

It’s important to take lessons or receive instruction from a qualified golf instructor to learn proper technique and rules of the game. While this can be a step outside of your comfort zone, it’s well worth your time if you think that golf is the solo sport for you.

It’s also helpful to start on a shorter and less challenging course and gradually work up to longer and more difficult courses as you improve your skills.

While golf is a social sport and a great way to connect with others who share your passion for the game, you can also be on your own if that is your choice.  

7. Swimming

Swimming is a great physical activity for introverts to consider. It offers a range of benefits for both physical and mental health, can be done alone or with others, and allows for a flexible and adaptable approach that can be tailored to individual needs and preferences.

  • It provides a solitary and meditative experience.
  • It allows introverts to disconnect from the outside world and focus solely on their breathing and movements in the water.
  • It’s a low-impact activity that can help you relax and de-stress while providing a great full-body workout.

If you’re new to swimming, consider taking lessons or working with a coach to learn proper technique and build confidence in the water. Until then, you should wear a life jacket for your own safety while out on the water.

Once you learn to swim, you can do so completely on your own in local pools or anywhere you travel. You can participate in swim events with others if you want to, but it’s not necessary to do so to enjoy the sport.

8. Weight-lifting

Weightlifting, or resistance training, is a great activity for introverts because it provides a solitary and focused experience that can help you de-stress and recharge.

  • It requires concentration and focus, allowing you to tune out external distractions and focus on your movements and breathing.
  • It’s one of the most direct ways to improve strength, increase muscle tone, and boost overall health and fitness.

If you’re just getting started with weights, start with lighter weights and gradually increase the weight as you build strength and confidence. Watch YouTube videos or meet with a trainer or an experienced friend, to learn proper technique and set appropriate goals.

Resistance training is a personal journey and it’s important to focus on progress rather than comparison to others. Set achievable goals and celebrate your accomplishments along the way.

9. Rock climbing or bouldering

Rock climbing or bouldering are great activities for introverts, even though you should always climb in the company of others.

  • It provides a solitary and focused experience that allows introverts to challenge themselves physically and mentally while being in nature.
  • It can be a meditative and peaceful activity that requires concentration and focus, allowing you to disconnect from the outside world and connect with their body and surroundings.
  • It provides a great sense of accomplishment as you reach the top of a challenging route.
  • Rock climbers tend to be a different sort of people, approachable, easy going and tend to accept other climbers just as they are.
  • Bouldering, a kind of climbing, can be done entirely on your own at a climbing gym.
  • It’s a full body workout and will leave you feeling intensely capable as you master new routes, and exhausted as well.

If you’re new to climbing, consider taking a beginner’s class or working with a qualified climbing instructor to learn proper technique, safety protocols, and etiquette.

Additionally, it’s important to start on easier climbing routes and gradually work up to more challenging climbs as you gain experience and confidence.

While climbing is a somewhat social sport, and it can be helpful to climb with a partner or group for motivation and support, it can also be done on your own. If you want to be entirely solo, simply go to a climbing gym and boulder away.

yoga

10. Yoga

Yoga is a wonderful activity for introverts because it gives you ultimate control over your experience. You set the location, difficulty and pace.

  • It provides a calming and meditative experience that can help introverts recharge and connect with their body and mind.
  • It combines movement with breath, allowing you to tune out external distractions and focus on their inner world.
  • It’s a low impact exercise.
  • It helps reduce stress and anxiety, increase flexibility and strength, and improve overall health and wellbeing.

The first thing you should do when starting out in yoga is to find a comfortable and quiet space where you can practice yoga, such as a dedicated yoga studio, a quiet room at home, or a peaceful outdoor space.

If you’re new to yoga, consider taking a beginner’s class, online or in person, to learn proper alignment and technique. Listen to your body and practice at your own pace, gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your practice as you become more comfortable and confident.

Yoga is a sport that strengthens your mind as well as your body. Embrace the journey and enjoy the benefits of this peaceful and rejuvenating practice.

11. Horseback riding

Horseback riding is an excellent, though extremely expensive, sport, because it provides a peaceful and meditative experience that allows you to connect with nature and horses.

  • Riding a horse can be a calming and therapeutic experience.
  • It improves balance, coordination, and strength while building a special bond with their horse.
  • Horses are intuitive animals and easy to be around even when you’re not riding them.

If you’re a beginner looking to get started with horseback riding, there are a few things to consider. First, find a reputable stable or riding school that offers lessons for beginners.

It’s important to choose a stable with experienced instructors and well-trained horses to ensure your safety and enjoyment.

Horseback riding is a team effort between you and your horse, and it’s important and entirely worth your efforts, to build a trusting and respectful relationship with your horse over time.

“Passion first and everything will fall into place.”

Holly Holm

12. Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a winter outdoor activity in which you strap specialized footwear (snowshoes) to your boots to walk on snow without sinking. It lets you explore the outdoors and view everything from a new and fresh perspective. One that is covered with snow.  

  • It’s a fantastic full-body, low-impact winter workout
  • It allows you to spend quality time outdoors in winter
  • Anyone can learn how to snowshoe

Snowshoeing can be an excellent sport for introverts. It provides a solitary and peaceful experience in the winter wilderness, away from crowded places. You can easily appreciate the quietness and beauty of the world around you.

I have done all of these sports and truly enjoyed them all over the years. My favorites, and the ones I currently participate in are hiking, running, trail running, weight-lifting and paddling.

I feel that the more sports you include in your life the happier, and healthier, you will be. Also, it reduces the odds of injury from repetitive motion and allows you to be active all year round, rather than wait for the seasons to come and go.

Why Sports Are Important

Physical activity is essential for everyone, regardless of age, gender, personality or physical ability. Engaging in regular physical activity has numerous benefits, as follows.

  • Helps to obtain or maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduces the risk of chronic diseases
  • Improves mental health
  • Strengthens bones and muscles
  • Improving overall physical function, coordination and dexterity
  • Increases energy levels
  • Enhances cognitive function

Regular physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight by burning calories and increasing metabolism. It can also help prevent and manage chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers.

Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve mood. It can help build and maintain strong bones and muscles, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and injury, as well as improve overall physical function, including balance, flexibility, and endurance.

Additionally, physical activity can increase energy levels and reduce fatigue, improving overall quality of life. It has been shown to enhance cognitive function, including memory, attention, and learning.

Overall, it’s a crucial aspect of a healthy lifestyle and should be incorporated into daily routines for optimal health and well-being.

swimming

Why it’s important to enjoy your exercise

It’s important to enjoy your physical activity because it increases the likelihood that you will stick with it over the long term. Engaging in exercise that you enjoy can lead to a sense of pleasure and satisfaction, making it more likely that you will continue to participate in it regularly.  

When you enjoy your exercise choices, it can have positive effects on your mental health. Research has shown that physical activity can improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost self-esteem.

If you find an activity that you enjoy, it can become a source of stress relief and an opportunity to take a break from the demands of daily life.

Finally, enjoying your sport can make easier to have a more social experience if you want to. It can be an opportunity to connect with others and build a sense of community at whatever pace you’re most comfortable with.  

Something for everyone

While there may not be a specific sport that everyone will enjoy, there are a wide variety of sports and physical activities available that cater to different interests, abilities, and skill levels.

Some people may prefer team sports like basketball or soccer, while others may enjoy individual sports like running or swimming.

There are also many non-traditional sports and activities that can be enjoyable, such as hiking, rock climbing, yoga, dance, and martial arts. These activities can be adapted to different levels of fitness and are a fun way to stay active and engaged.

Many sports are ones you can do all over the world, providing a connection to home and source of guaranteed enjoyment even when away.

Ultimately, the key to finding a sport, physical activity, or even a hobby, that you enjoy is to explore different options and experiment until you find something that feels right for you.

Are sports more challenging for introverts?

While introverts may have unique challenges when it comes to sports, everyone has challenges of some kind or another. Everybody has their own strengths as well.

Introvert strengths often include enhanced focus the ability to concentrate on the important aspects of anything, which can lead to a faster learning rate.

Some famously successful introvert athletes you have likely heard of are Simone Biles, Michael Jordan and Naomi Osaka.

FAQs

Commonly asked questions about introverts and sports.

Can an introvert be good at sports?

Yes, absolutely! While introverts may prefer solitary or small-group activities, they can still excel in team sports or individual sports. In fact, introverts often have an advantage in sports that require focus, concentration, and attention to detail, such as golf, tennis, or weightlifting.

What are popular activities for introverts?

Introverts tend to prefer more solitary and introspective activities, where they can focus on their inner world and recharge their energy.
Reading, writing, hiking, painting, drawing, meditation, yoga, cooking, and baking are popular interests with introverts.

How do introverts enjoy life?

Introverts can enjoy life in many ways, just like anyone else. However, their needs may differ from those of extroverts. They enjoy spending time alone, traveling solo, engaging in creative pursuits and exploring their interests. They prefer to develop fewer, but deeper relationships with others.

What sports are best for an introverted child?

The best sports for introverted kids is one that they enjoy and feel comfortable with. It’s important to encourage them to try different sports and activities until they find something that they truly love. Some good options to start with are swimming, running, archery, and golf.

What sports are good for older introverts?

As people age, it’s important to stay active to maintain physical and mental health. However, as an introvert, some sports may be more appealing than others. Swimming, yoga, walking or hiking, Tai Chi, golf and cycling are all wonderful sports for the aging introvert.

Final Thoughts – Introverts and Sports

Introverts may prefer solo sports or activities that allow them to work independently rather than team-oriented ones. I certainly do.

Fortunately, there are many possibilities out there. The important thing is to keep trying until you find a sport that works for you. If you find more than one, you will be setting yourself up for a lifetime of better health and well-being.