Practicar un deporte

How do you say I swim in Spanish? The verb nadar exists, of course. However, this idea is commonly expressed using the verb practicar: Practica natación.

  • ¿Practicas algún deporte? Do you do any sports? Do you do anything to stay in shape?
  • Practica tenis tres veces por semana. She plays tennis three times a week.
  • Practica ciclismo. He bikes/cycles.
  • Practicaba atletismo. I used to do track and field / athletics.
  • Está en muy buena forma. Practica yoga y todo. She’s in great shape. She even does yoga.

As you can see from these examples, practicar works especially well for individual fitness activities. Note that we’re not talking about perfecting your technique, your backstroke, your tennis serve, and so on. We typically use practicar to talk about activities we engage in for fitness or lifestyle reasons.

Practica deporte sign, Iztacalco, Mexico City

Practica deporte sign, Iztacalco, Mexico City


In a musical context, practicar means to practice with the goal of improvement rather than to merely make music. Practica el violín diario. She practices the violin every day. Tocar is also possible here. For rehearsing rather than performing in public, there is ensayar: Ensayan los domingos. They rehearse on Sunday. The related noun is ensayo, rehearsal.


Una práctica is an intership, a volunteer or low-paid position whose primary purpose is educational. The associated verb is hacer: Mi hermana hizo una práctica en el extranjero. My sister did an intership abroad. A short-term position abroad could also be called una estancia. Interns in Mexico are becarios, scholarship recipients, whether or not outside funding is actually involved. Trainee is also heard. Junior is next on the career ladder. Un puesto junior = an entry-level position.


In the context of a particular religion, practicante means follower. ¿Y tú, eres practicante? Are you a practicing Jew? Are you observant? Or are you merely ethnically Jewish?