While the benefits of having your child join a sports team have been touted for years, little is said about adult sports leagues. With adulthood obesity rates on the rise — at least a third of the U.S. population is now obese, according to the Center for Disease Control — thousands of adults across the country are taking matters into their own hands and learning to make exercise fun. Volleyball, softball, bowling, kickball, basketball — you name it, there’s probably a local league that you can join. But why bother fitting another activity into your already busy schedule? Well, some of the same benefits your kids are gaining can be helpful to you as well.
Government experts who promote the Let’s Move! initiative believe that adults need to move at least 30 minutes a day to maintain a healthy level of activity. Even if your softball league’s games are restricted to an hour each, imagine the movement you’re getting simply from warming up, in addition to the actual game. It’s much easier to get that 30 minutes in if your team is scheduled to play a couple of times a week — you have no excuse but to show up and get physical!
So it might be years since you strapped on your volleyball knee pads or practiced your three-point shots. That’s OK! You can work to get in better shape for your chosen sport by exercising other days of the week. Find a teammate who needs to work on spiking the ball, or work on your kickball skills at a local park on the weekend. You’ll find that once you increase your physical activity on your own, you’ll be a better team member, too.
Sure, we can meet people at work, online or at a coffeehouse. But there’s no better camaraderie than what you build with your teammates. Maybe you’re new to town or you just need another venue to meet people your age with your interests. Joining an adult sports league has this built right in! And with the right atmosphere, you may find your new teammates are game to grab a bite to eat or a beer following a soccer match, thus prolonging time spent together and growing friendships.
You don’t have to join an adult sports league all by yourself — recruit your coworkers! Having an out-of-the-office activity can make you learn to work better with one another, and will provide for fun times around the water cooler following the game from the night before. You’ll learn more about your coworkers, and them about you, forming bonds that will spill over into work situations, hopefully showing off to your bosses your new teamwork skills.
There’s just no other word for it. Playing sports and belonging to a team, no matter how good or bad your team is, is a ton of fun. It provides much needed stress relief and a way to escape from the usual routine of the workweek. You’ll learn to improve your athletic skills but also laugh at your mistakes and encourage your teammates. All that fuels great self-esteem and pumps good energy into your life.