We all know that exercise is important. But is it fun? For many people, the thought of hitting the elliptical machine or lifting weights sounds like drudgery. So how often are you going to continue doing something you don’t like? Instead, make exercise something you love. Playing a sport as an adult can not only get the heart-rate up, but it will also help you meet new people, develop a variety of skills, and do wonders for your motivation. Skipping a trip by yourself to the gym is easy—but when you’ve got teammates counting on you, you show up.
Even if your last sports experience came in high school gym class, you can find an adult league that will likely love to have you. People who organize these leagues are passionate about their sport—and they want to share that passion with others. If you’re starting from scratch, join a beginner’s league or get some instruction. It doesn’t take long to get the basics of a sport, and getting better is part of the fun.
It’s easy to make excuses about why you don’t have time to do it: Don’t fall into that trap. Everyone’s busy, and playing a sport for a couple of hours a week isn’t as hard as you think. It gives you a good excuse to leave work on time. (Even better, get others from the office to join you to help with team building.) Sounds better than doing crunches by yourself at the gym, doesn’t it?
So what sport should you try? There’s nothing wrong with going back to what you enjoyed as a kid, but there’s something to be said for trying something new as well. You may have never held a tennis racquet before, but you might just love it. Check the website of your local park district, and you’ll be surprised just how many activities are available. Here are several suggestions for some popular league sports that are easy to find in most parts of the country. Give a couple a try and see what fits best for you.
The pros make it look easy, but running up and down the court is an excellent workout. If you haven’t played in a while, don’t worry, there are plenty of others who will do the shooting until you get back into game shape. If you want a bit less contact, join an over-40 league. Also, invest in a good pair of basketball shoes to keep those ankles secure.
Both indoor and outdoor leagues are becoming more and more popular with adults. This is another aerobic killer that will get you in shape fast. Coed and after-work leagues are a great way to bring a large group of people together.
If you’re looking for something with less contact, volleyball is an excellent option. There’s less aerobic activity, but you’ll still do plenty of moving. If you’ve never played organized volleyball before, start with a clinic to learn proper technique. Once you start playing with others who know the right way to play—especially with hitting and blocking—you’ll be surprised how much you sweat. Look for a beach league to try something different. Playing on the sand is easier on the joints and a lot of fun.
Ready to swing for the fences? Softball is the traditional recreational adult sport. There’s a reason they call them the “beer leagues,” and you can certainly have plenty of fun without taking the sport too seriously. You can also find competitive leagues as well if you’d rather work on improving your game.
Interested in a more individual sport? Tennis is an excellent mix of aerobic exercise and skill-based activity. Work with a pro to get started with the basics, but join a league to improve. Once you find others of your skill level, you’ll never have a problem getting a game. With doubles, you can also play with your partner and spend more time together.
Yes, this looks hard. But learning to skate well enough to play hockey is a lot of fun. Beginning adult leagues are becoming more and more popular for those looking for low-impact aerobic exercise. Forget what you see in the NHL, as most adult leagues are no-checking.
A combination of football, soccer, and running, Ultimate Frisbee has exploded in popularity in recent years. It helps to be able to throw a Frisbee accurately, but you can learn that. This sport rewards effort as you need to be able to cover a large field. It’s a sport that men and women can play together, and the emphasis on self-refereed games enforces good sportsmanship.
Most golfers complain that they don’t get to play enough. Do something about it by joining a league. Your game will improve, and you will meet other golfers of the same handicap.
Did you grow up having lightsaber battles with your siblings? Fencing is a sport that anyone can do with some instruction. Take note—you’ll be working much more on your footwork than you ever did when sword fighting as a kid. It’s also much more of a workout than you’d expect.
What to Wear
Now that you’ve joined a team, make sure you have the right gear. High-tech fabrics make participating in sports more comfortable than ever. Look for clothing made with 37.5 Technology, a revolutionary material that helps cool you off when you’re hot and warm you when you’re cold. When you’re hot, you sweat. The 37.5 Technology active particles embedded in the fabrics use your body’s energy to help remove this moisture, cooling you down. These same active particles retain the body’s own infrared energy to help warm you up when you’re cold.
You’ll find a wide variety of apparel using the technology designed for specific sports. Tennis players may want to try a polo or other performance top from Fourlaps. Those who are doing a lot of running in soccer, basketball, or ultimate might consider a top from Salomon or DHB. Bauer is one of the top names in hockey, and it makes some excellent equipment with 37.5 Technology. For golfers, Abacus features apparel that’s both comfortable and fashionable on the course.
So stop making excuses. Find a sport you love and sign up. You’ll soon find that exercising—instead of being a chore—will be the time you most look forward to each week.
Written by Jeff Banowetz for Matcha in partnership with 37.5.
Featured image provided by tommy boudreau