As children and teenagers, many of us had the experience of participating in recreational sports leagues including baseball, softball and basketball. Not only were they a good place to bond with our friends (and make new ones), they also got us moving and helped foster a competitive – and cooperative – spirit. Yet as adults, a lot of people don’t tend to consider sports as a feasible hobby; between work hours and family activities, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day. However, recreational sports have multiple benefits for adults, just as they do for kids and teens – in fact, adults are likely much more in need of the physical and psychological boosts that playing rec league sports can provide.
Not convinced? Then let’s examine some of the rewards that come with playing recreational sports as an adult – you’ll be signing up at your local community center and investing in an athletic performance enhancer in no time.
The physical benefits
Adults are told by everyone from the media to doctors to family members that being active is important, and they’re correct. Making sure you get in at least half an hour of exercise every day can help you feel more energized, lower your blood pressure, and strengthen your bones and muscles, according to the Heart Foundation of Australia. Not only that, but getting in some physical exercise can go a long way towards stress management, which is vital in this day and age. So what better place to reap all these benefits than in a recreational sports league?
Rec leagues are the perfect solution for anyone who loves the competitive nature and team environment of sports. You’ll get in your regular exercise, plus you’ll be able to have fun doing it – as well as getting out and being social with a bunch of likeminded peers. It can be the perfect stress buster at the end of a long work day, as well as good motivation to get out and get moving – even if you don’t want to. You won’t want to let your team down, right?
The psychological bonuses
As mentioned briefly above, it’s not just the physical aspect of recreational sports that can benefit adults – it also comes on the mental and psychological sides. Aside from being a stress reliever, playing a sport as part of a team – whether just for fun or on a competitive level – can do wonders for one’s mental health and self-esteem. An article from the Bennington Banner notes that “though research shows that fitness results vary by individual, there are valid socio-emotional health benefits to participating in group or team athletics, in either a competitive or recreational setting.” The article goes on to discuss how important goal-setting is for adults, as well as the motivation that comes when you feel obligated to show up and be part of a team. Having a scheduled practice, it says, is also good for simply getting people out of the house and being social, which can be a struggle if a person is susceptible to depression, isolating behavior, or loneliness. Being a part of a rec league can potentially give that person the motivation and drive to get out and be around other people, as well as a boost in self-esteem and confidence.
At the heart of it, recreational sports are really about creating a social atmosphere in a friendly, physical environment. If you’re looking to take your recreational sport league team to the next level, you can consider team-building bonuses like group jerseys or t-shirts, special equipment, or even athletic performance trackers to monitor each individual’s progress and identify their metrics. Being able to see your progress via data as you improve at a sport can be an extra motivator to help you stick with it, plus it’s always rewarding to see how well you performed – and you can even set a higher goal for next time.
Although playing recreational sports may have fallen by the wayside as we’ve grown up, it’s just as rewarding – maybe even more so – to play them as adults. Given that they grant everything from our recommended daily exercise, to a chance to socialize, to a renewed sense of goal-setting and competition, rec leagues ought to be seriously considered by all adults looking for a place to blow off some steam and have fun.
Do you play in a recreational league? Tell us about it in the comments.