Published: 6/5/2021by malia warren
The gloves might be gathering dust. Your old cleats may not fit anymore. Jumping for the ball might feel a little bit “crickety”. It’s all good though. Here are 3 reasons you should dust off your sports gear and get back on the proverbial court.
Science says even as adults, we need to play.
I mean, think about it. As kids, we play in the sandbox, get dirty in the mud looking for worms, and run around in our bathing suits in the front yard with the slip-n-slide and neighborhood kids. Inhibitions are pretty much all gone; society deems us too young to worry about the woes of the world.
Kids express themselves and get out feelings of frustration or angst by playing, or having recess.
Then we grow up.
We stop playing in the sandbox. Stop hanging upside down on jungle gyms. Become more cautious on a swing – which might mean no jumping off contests.
What even is recess?
It’s likely we give up sports too. According to the Journal of Sport and Health Science, adults playing sports declines with age.
Who has time to train for and play a sport when we have to do adult things? Between jobs, families, traveling, and let’s not even talk about injury potential, its no wonder we stop playing sports as adults.
Sure, we don’t have the time and energy we had when we were young, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t get out and play.
1. Physical and Mental Benefits
Everyone knows that daily exercise as an adult is one of the keys to an improved lifestyle. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Physical activity lowers your risk for many diseases, such as coronary heart disease (CHD), diabetes, and cancer.
Sports like Mountain Biking, Running, or Weightlifting are solo sports that you can compete in and find multiple benefits. If you love your alone time but you’re itching for a way to ease back into competition – these sports might be perfect for you!
In addition to the physical benefits, there are numerous mental benefits too, the top being a lower risk for depression. Imagine physical activity, or in the case of this article, playing a sport with friends as something to look forward too when you’re feeling a little down.
Sports as a means of exercise reduce stress hormones and trigger the release of endorphins.
No, not dolphins. Endorphins, those happy chemicals in your brain.
2. Opportunities for Achievement
You know what comes with playing sports as an adult? More sense of accomplishment. I’m a much more developed and focused volleyball player now, in my 30’s than I ever was as a teenager. Of course I’m stronger, but I also just understand the game better. I’m definitely not faster though, lol.
This is a kind of maturity that you can only get from growing up.
Sure, I’m not planning on entering any AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) tournaments but I will marvel at how difficult my serves are to return by the opposing team.
Sports are one-of-a-kind in that they can offer us these small opportunities for “wins”, even when they’re hard to come by in the real world. A hard day at work? It’s nothing that a sweaty game of soccer can’t get your mind off of.
Don’t believe me? Try it and see!
Lastly, it could be the thing you didn’t know you were missing: a supportive community. Nothing can fill your cup up more than knowing you have a community ready to welcome you with open arms.
This can go for the gym community, too, that we have talked so much about (in like, every article we write). However, in relation to sports, let’s take Co-Ed Softball for example. You’re getting together with 9 or so friends to play a sport and work together to win a game.
Where else can you honestly do that?
If you’re hankering for a sense of community then joining a team sport might just be the answer.
Pro tip: if you’re truly looking to join and be a part of a community, and this goes for mostly any community, sports or not, check your ego at the door. No one cares if you were All-State this or that player in high school, that’s not the goal here. The goal is to have fun, get some exercise, and make new friends.
What sports to try
If you’ve never, ever, in your life played soccer, it probably wouldn’t be a great idea to jump onto a co-ed recreational soccer league. Soccer is an intense, fast-paced sport with lots of running, protective equipment requirements, and almost guaranteed physical contact.
Not quite the welcome you want back into sports.
Instead, opt for a lower impact sport like co-ed softball, kickball, volleyball, or something similar that won’t take too much out of you while also giving you a good workout!
Another option might be something like Golf. It is the only sport that you can drink and “play” but it does require some physical ability and accuracy to perform well. If you rent a cart, you do take away some of the physical fitness benefits, however it beats sitting on the couch any day.
Tennis, Racquetball, or Badminton might be another option for getting back onto the competition floor if something physical like Basketball isn’t your thing.
How to find sports as an Adult
The first and best recommendation I have for finding team sports to join is to check with your city or county’s Parks and Recreation division! If you don’t already have a team to join, they can put you on a Free Agent list to join a team. Sure, you may not know anyone on the team, but that is the beauty of it – new faces = new friends!
Check out specialty leagues like XOSO in Sacramento, CA, a 21+ adult league focusing on sports maybe your rec league wouldn’t have, like Bocce Ball, Bowling, and Kickball. XOSO’s guide to joining is one of the coolest things about them too:
Check out your town to see if there are any leagues like this in your area! We also found Volo Sports in Denver, offering Dodgeball (Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, and Dodge!), Beach City Sports in Southern California, offering Beach Volleyball, and No Idea Sports in Morristown, New Jersey, offering Skee Ball (ummm count me in!).
These are just some of HUNDREDS of programs all over the country that offer socialized sporting events. Head on over to the Sport and Social Industry Association’s website to find one near you.
Tips for heading out into the wide world of Adult Sports:
- Already listed above, but check your ego at the door.
- Say “Yes” more – Don’t be afraid to try new sports or a new position than the one you played in high school
- Be nice to the officials – they’re adults too, probably being paid minimum wage or volunteering their time to be there. Being mean won’t get the call reversed if you don’t like it.
- Be sure to have all the necessary equipment for playing the sport (ie. glove for baseball, shin guards for baseball, mouthguard for football, etc.)
Do you actively play a recreational sport as an adult?
Malia is the owner, and mamapreneur, of Lifting the Dream. When she’s not lifting heavy weights, she’s doing some fun shit outdoors with her family or attempting to make rollerblading cool again. She is a Cali girl born and raised, with salt water in her veins and sunshine in her heart. She and her family now reside near Denver, Colorado, soaking up the 300+ days of sunshine and breathtaking (literally, altitude) views.
Stay Lifting My Friends,
Bee Tee Dubs (BTW).
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