The Top 10 Reasons Every Adult Should Play A Sport:
If you’re like me, getting yourself to go to the gym is like pulling teeth. I’d rather sit on my couch and relax. But my desire to stay in shape and spend time with other adults is why I turn to sports. When I say sports, I don’t just mean sports like soccer and basketball. You can do rock climbing, martial arts, pilates, yoga, running, hiking, dance, surfing, swimming, cycling, volleyball, dodgeball, kickball, gymnastics, water aerobics, synchronized swimming (really!), softball, bowling, horseback riding, water sports, etc. No matter how old you are or how un-athletic you think you are, there is a sport or activity out there that you will enjoy and will help to you get in shape and keep your body healthy.
Here are the top 10 reasons why every adult should play a sport:
1. Accountability And Obligation
The desire to relax on your couch can be a lot stronger than your desire to be physically fit. You may WANT to get in shape, but it’s easy to put off going to the gym for “just one more day”. But when you are part of a group of adults that are counting on you to come so they can play, you are much more likely to go because you don’t want to let them down. Furthermore, because no one wants to be the only one to show up to a group activity, someone usually checks up on everyone to see who’s coming and to encourage everyone to go. It also helps motivate you to go when you know that there will be other people there to support you.
2. New Friends and Adult Social Time:
Maybe you work and get plenty of adult conversation and social time, but if you’re a stay at home mom, odds are those times are few and far between. This is when playing a sport becomes really beneficial. The social time I get from playing sports is what keeps me sane. It’s my break from the repetitive life of cleaning, cooking, driving, and talking to children (not that I don’t love it). Some of my best friends I’ve met through soccer and I’m always making new friends as I try new sports on play on new teams. Social time is my number one reason for playing group sports.
3. It Causes Flow:
When you are fully engaged mentally in an activity you go into a “state of flow”. Athletes know this as being “in the zone”. It is time spent in a feeling of energized focus and enjoyment in the process of the activity. Researchers have discovered that increasing your time in Flow helps to make your life happier and more successful. When you play a sport, it is easy to get in to a state of flow. Since Flow = Increased Happiness, Playing Sports = Increased Happiness. You can learn more about Flow here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology) and Here: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
4. Stress Relief:
I’ve played soccer since I was 4 years old and still play it now that I’m 30-something. What I’ve discovered is that it is my release in life. When I go play a game, all of my stress and cares go away. I don’t have time for them during the game. I need to focus on the task at hand. If I’ve had a bad day or someone has upset me, I can go take it out on the ball (or sometimes on an aggressive opponent). The act of running by itself helps relieve stress and anxiety because it uses up some of the built up energy that the stress created. I’m sure there is a scientific reason why sports help with stress relief, but for now just trust me when I say that it does in a big way.
5. NO ONE CARES IF YOU SUCK or are Out of Shape:
When I try to encourage people to try a new sport they always give me the excuse that they would suck at it. Who cares?! Everyone is bad at a sport when they first try it. You will get better and adults don’t care that you aren’t very good at it or that you’re aren’t in shape yet. In fact, they will appreciate the fact that you are willing to go out there and play anyway. They will also be happy that by showing up, you are allowing them to play the sport that they love playing. And for those people that DO care who they play against, there are always more competitive leagues for them. So go and try a new sport without care of how good you’ll be at it.
6. There’s a Sport for Everyone:
You are sure to find at least one sport you like in the wide range of activities that are out there. Most large cities have municipal sports which are recreational and affordable. There are also Meetup (a website) groups for most activities. Ask your friends which sports they play and go with them to try it out. If you don’t think you are athletic and you don’t know what you’ll like, try everything! In the past few years I have tried karate, tennis, rock climbing, yoga, pilates, frisbee golf, pole fitness (pole dancing minus the stripper part), skiing, snowboarding, water sports, beach volleyball, surfing, and Zumba. I loved them all! … okay, not Zumba, but I’m not much of a dancer.
7. You’ll Get In Shape!:
Trying something new is a sure way to get in better shape. I’ve been playing soccer since I was 4 years old. I still play as an adult but recently I also started taking Karate classes. Because Karate uses different muscles than soccer and is new to me, I have seen dramatic changes in my body. In just 5 months of taking Karate classes, I’ve started getting the 6-pack back that I lost 10 years ago with my first pregnancy, my thighs have gotten thinner and more defined, my butt lifted and got a little smaller (don’t want it to get too much smaller), my back got stronger and therefore my posture improved, I’m much more flexible, my agility has improved (which helps my soccer playing), and I can probably beat a guy up if he messes with me! The point is that our body only gets stronger when it is forced to do things that are hard and new. So try something new. Try something that seems difficult. Get uncomfortable! Besides the positive affect it will have on your body, it will also help your self-esteem and mental fortitude.
8. You’ll Be a Good Example to Your Kids:
My 9 year old daughter started taking Karate 2 years ago. Her Sensei is a 2-time World Champion who is the most amazing instructor I’ve ever known. Besides the fact that I wanted to take advantage of being able to learn a sport from someone who had mastered it, I also started taking karate to be an example to my daughter. Boogie has always known me to play sports but she has never witnessed the struggle to get good at it from the beginning. The first time I showed her my punches, she laughed because I was so bad at it. I asked her how I could improve and she showed me. We have continued to help each other get better at the sport over the past 5 months. Before my first Belt Test (where you display your techniques and fighting ability to prove you are worthy of a higher rank) I was nervous and told her so. I practiced in front of her daily and asked her to practice with me. I told her that I didn’t want to go into the test unprepared. Because of these actions, Boogie (as well as my son) has learned a number of things. She learned that you aren’t always going to be good at something the first time you try, you shouldn’t be afraid to try new things, you are never too old to learn something new, you should never let fear stop you from getting what you want, practice and hard work are important, and physical fitness is important at all ages. We have also formed a tighter bond with each other. I believe that learning a new sport with my daughter is one of the best things I can to do show her what it means to be a strong and powerful woman.
9. It’s Fun!:
Sports are Fun! You won’t feel that way about every sport but I guarantee you can find at least one sport that you can’t wait to play because of how much you enjoy it.
10. Mental Strength:
Figuring out how to get your body to do what your mind wants it to do is hard. Learning to work with a team for a common goal when you all have different strengths and weaknesses is hard. Pushing your body to do more than what’s comfortable is hard. Learning the techniques and tricks to improving your performance is hard and takes time. Because of all these things, learning a new sport or perfecting a current sport gives you mental strength. Every time you do something that you couldn’t do before, like run 1 mile without walking, or serve a tennis ball into the correct area of the court, you learn that you can do hard things and you become mentally tough. Because every one should be striving to live up to their full potential (and be smart and powerful), every one should play a sport to learn just how much potential you have.
I’m sure there are many more reasons, but I encourage all of you to try a new sport this year. I know you won’t regret it!
What sports have you guys tried and liked? What are your reasons for playing? Comment Below!