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Should you do one sport or many?

Do you do one sport or many?

A lot of people I know do many. Or at least more than one.It sounds like a good idea. I personally think it is a good one but there are downsides to it.

For anyone who does multiple sports obviously the pros outweigh the cons for them. Here are some of the pros that come to mind.

  • Variety
  • Cross-training
  • Fun
  • All year round 

As always there are a few cons to doing multiple sports at once as well.

  • Gear expenses
  • Decisions
  • Lack of time for skill progression 

I want to dig into each of these and explain them a bit. I’d love to hear your own reasons for doing one or many in the comments below.

Pro – Variety

You can’t get bored when you do 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 different sports. There’s always something different to do. Bored of mountain biking? Go climb? Sore arms from climbing, go for a run. Need some water time? Get out the paddle board or kayak.

Pro – Cross-training

Fitness can be both generic and specific to a sport. Basic strength and cardio fitness apply to every sport you can think of. If you’re pushing hard on your mountain bike that’s going to help your running. Sometimes they don’t translate perfectly but in many cases working hard in one sport is going to make the others easier. I’ve found the mental training useful as well. Skills like breaking down tough situations into easier ones, pushing yourself harder than you think you can and staying focused for long periods are all important mental skills that apply to every sport.

Pro – Fun

I’m not sure if it’s the variety or something else but I just find keeping my hand on multiple activities more exciting.

Pro – All Year Round

Some sports go all year round but most have a season. If you have multiple sports you’ll have an activity you can focus on for every season. Skiing, snowshoeing and indoor climbing are great winter activities. Hiking, mountain biking and kayaking are great for the summer.

Con – Gear Expenses

We can’t have it all. Every sport comes with the expense of the gear required. You can rent for a while but as soon as you get serious you’ll be buying gear. Sometimes sports have crossover gear. You probably won’t be buying a jacket for every single sport you do. You can if you want. The outdoor companies want you to. Your wallet really doesn’t.

Con – Decisions

A sunny weekend with nothing planned is coming up fast. What do you do? Hike? Climb? Kayak? Run? Bike? Sail? Ski? If you only do one sport then it’s easy to decide. You do that one. If you do many how do you decide what to do? The number of people required can affect this. Sports like climbing and sailing don’t usually happen with 1 person. You’ll need more. Even if you try to eliminate some options there’s still a decision to make.

Con – Lack of Time

Every sport takes time. The more time it takes the better you get but the less you get to do other sports. How much time do you spend on each? Do you spend a lot and get your skills up or do you spend little and work on other things? Do you balance it all out and stay mediocre in all the sports you do? It’s all up to you but it’s one more decision you’ll need to make.

Without a doubt, I fall into the “do many” category. Right now I’m getting my mountain bike ready for summer, organizing details for hiking the West Coast Trail and buying gear for a 3 day sailing race out of Astoria, Oregon.

Often it’s frustrating trying to decide where my money and time will go but when it comes down to it, there never is a dull moment when there’s so much to choose from.


How many different sports do you do? Do you find it difficult to only stick to one?

Adventure on,


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