Were you one of the 75% of people who played sports as a kid and teen? If so, it’s likely that you attained lifelong rewards and epic memories that your non-playing peers never experienced. The benefits for teens who play sports are significant and include discipline, social experience, and the feeling of having others rely on their success. With so many proven benefits to playing sports, why do only 25% of adults continue playing after they leave school?
Sports for Adults - An Excellent Way to Stay Fit
Since so many kids and teens are involved in sports, why does that trend suddenly stop as we reach adulthood? Reasons could include everything from too much time devoted to work to not wanting to risk injury as an adult, but ultimately, those are all excuses. The fact is, adults can reap the same benefits -- social, fitness, learning new skills, and more-- from being dedicated to a sport as well. Discover the many ways that you can get deeply into sports as an adult.
Sports That Are Common for Adults to Play
- Ultimate Frisbee
- Beach Volleyball
- Court Volleyball
- Flag Football
Committing to Sports for Fitness - Where to Begin
If you’ve decided that getting involved in a sport is the kind of workout that will add the most to your life, the obvious place to start is to decide which one. Consider these factors when choosing a sport to commit to:
If you have a history of playing a sport in high school, it can be tempting to give it another shot as an adult to see how you measure up. Plus, you’ll have the advantage of already knowing how to play.
Location and Amenities
We’re often limited by the amenities, organizations, and options that are close to where we live. Perhaps you moved into a place that has a nice new tennis court nearby, so you want to take lessons and give it a shot. Or maybe you drive by a group of adults about your age who are having a blast playing half-court basketball.
Your Physical Capability
It’s exciting to think about the sports you could play as an adult, but it’s still important to consider your physical ability in both a positive and negative way. For example, if you know you have bad knees from prior injuries, then a sport with a lot of jumping, like volleyball, may not be ideal.
What Are You Interested In?
Since you’ll be much more likely to stick with a sport that you love, it’s vital that you start with and maintain a strong interest in it. This includes the practices, gear, competition, location, and everything that goes along with it.
You’ve Chosen a Sport - What Are Your Options for Getting Started?
Depending on the sport you’ve chosen, there may be different avenues for accessing it and gaining the experience you need to become competitive. For instance, finding pickup games with random people is a lot easier for basketball or tennis than soccer or football. Consider these starting points for delving into the sport of your choosing:
- Pick Up Games
For sports like basketball and racquetball, it’s often very easy to find a group who is there to play and could use an extra person. That said, this is never the best way to break into a sport that you’re just beginning. But to test your abilities with a random group of like-minded people, pick up games can be a fun and challenging experience.
- Take Some Lessons
If your chosen sport is tennis, boxing, or another that emphasizes individual talent rather than teams, then taking lessons may be the optimal way to get acclimated and learn the ropes. Lessons are rarely expensive and can often be found at discounted rates through sites such as Groupon or LivingSocial. Advantages of taking lessons include the detailed training and critiques you receive on your performance.
- Sign Up for Intramural Sports
If your sport is one that requires a team, such as softball, flag football, or lacrosse, then finding a local place to sign up is your best move. There may be divisions based on age or experience, but once you’re in and on a team, be ready to meet new people and attend practices as you try to become the best in your league.
Benefits of Committing to a Sport
From the motivation you get from competing to the social aspects, there are remarkable advantages to being dedicated to a sport. These include:
- Boosts self-esteem and confidence as you win and learn new skills
- It adds a fun new element to your life.
- Sports keep you physicallyfit which helps combat depression.
- Making it to practices and competing helps build discipline.
- Meet new friends who also love your sport.
What to Expect When Starting a New Sport
Ultimately, starting a new sport will cost you extra time, energy, and money. This is important to know because if you’re severely lacking in any of those things, it may not be viable to commit to in the long term.
You’ll need time and energy to make it to practices which will likely be two or three times each week, and you may even need time on weekends for games and competitions. Each sport will have some cost, but the equipment can be found for low prices online or in used sports stores.
Sticking with Your Sport for a Year
Everyone needs to have a plan for staying in shape, and committing to a sport will definitely provide that. Plus, it will encourage you to workout on your own, so you’re in the best possible condition to help your team on game day.
By sticking to a sport for a whole year, you’ll get to know many more people and will have opportunities to enhance your social life. Whether you get close to some of your team members or end each practice by visiting a local pizza joint, the social aspect is a major advantage of being involved in sports.
As you might imagine, attending all of the practices and competitions will provide considerable improvements to your fitness level. Combined with the motivation you’ll feel to perform as best as possible, playing sports gives you the energy to really take your fitness to new heights. Along with this comes all of the benefits of staying fit, including better health and a lower stress level.
Then there’s the new skills you’ve learned. Whether you choose to play soccer, basketball, tennis, or another sport, your new abilities will be with you forever. This means you can easily teach younger members of your family and even host games on your own, even after you’ve moved on to another city or team.
Show the World That You’re Never Too Old for Sports
Many Americans love to watch sports well into adulthood, but by being one of the few who still plays, you attain benefits that many of your peers will never know. The camaraderie of your team and being a part of a close game are experiences you simply can’t get elsewhere. If you’re ready to enhance your physical ability, fitness, and social life, pick a sport, show up to practice, and play. You’ll find that your newfound commitment enriches your life in ways you never thought possible.