Recreational sports leagues thrive in communities all over the world. These amateur leagues have beginner-friendly policies and are usually not as competitive as collegiate or semi-professional sports. They’re “just for fun,” but there are more benefits than simply having a good time. Here are five reasons to sign up for your local recreational sports league.
1. Encourage a Healthier Lifestyle
Exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. Sports provide plenty of exercise without the tedious grind of going to the gym. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week for all adults.
The health benefits of joining a recreational league don’t stop there. One healthy choice encourages more of them, continuing until you’ve achieved a health-conscious lifestyle. You may be motivated to support your diet with health-friendly supplements, such as the ones USANA Athletes use. These athletes excel in all manner of sports from sailing to skating to MMA. You may not win any Olympic medals in your recreational league, but you can feel like a winner by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
2. Expand Your Social Circle
Many adults have a difficult time making and maintaining friendships as they get older. Working remotely and unwinding with online activities makes this task even harder.
A major mental health benefit of joining a recreational sports league is building new friendships. A sport gives you something to bond over, so it’s as easy to make friends as an adult the same way you likely made friends in school.
3. Challenge Yourself
Falling into a lifestyle rut can lead to depression and poor mental health. Stave off monotony before it starts by joining a sports league. Sports provide plenty of mental stimulation and a reason to get out of bed early on weekends.
While playing a sport, you’ll experience physical challenges. Improving your skills and physical fitness provides a huge sense of accomplishment. However, you’ll face social and mental challenges as well. Recreational sports can help you develop better interpersonal skills and a healthy outlook toward competition. These skills can benefit you in the workplace, in close relationships, and in all areas of your life.
4. Reduce Physical Deterioration
Do you sometimes feel less coordinated than you were as a child? There’s a scientific basis for this: According to Harvard Health, your hand-eye coordination deteriorates as you age. So do muscle mass, skeletal strength, flexibility, and many other measures of fitness. The good news is, it’s possible to reverse this trajectory with effort and practice.
Here is how different sports each improve hand-eye coordination:
- Soccer requires judging distances to pass the ball to teammates and thread kicks between opponents. Playing goalie involves your hands, as well.
- Tracking a tennis ball with your eyes and racket quickly improves hand-eye coordination.
- Baseball develops hand-eye coordination when you’re at bat. In the outfield, catching and throwing both build this key skill as well.
Pre-game stretching warm-ups retain your flexibility as you age. Running and jumping build muscle mass and bone density. Overall, recreational sports are some of the best ways to keep your body feeling younger as you age.
5. Rekindle a Love of Sports
Many people play sports as a child and transition to watching sports on TV as they grow older. Beloved sports can even become a cause of frustration if your favorite teams underperform.
Instead of playing vicariously, get on the field yourself to bring back the joy of your favorite sports. Hitting a baseball or winning a difficult tennis volley gives a sense of accomplishment stronger than watching the images play out in front of you. Unlike watching sports, you benefit even if your team loses. Your health improves, and you bond with your community and teammates.
Joining a recreational sports league is great for your physical and mental health. This one simple change can set off a domino effect of healthy choices in your life. Keep active as you age by seeking out hobbies that spark joy and foster friendships.