Many of us have experienced group or team sport at one point in our lives, either at an informal ‘just for fun’ level or at an ultra-competitive elite level. Perhaps you have never had the opportunity or interest to join a team. Whatever the case, the benefits of being involved in team sport are numerous.
In particular, joining a recreational sports team is especially appealing. While competing on the national or world stage requires dedicated, lifelong commitment, joining in on the sporting fun at any age and skill level is possible and well worth your time. In addition, many find that recreational or ‘rec’ leagues offer an opportunity to be active and social!
Benefits of Recreational Sport
The benefits of regularly physically active are numerous, and it is a massive part of a healthy lifestyle. For example, by joining a regular recreational sports team, you will likely have one to two games a week, as well as a few practices! So whether it’s hockey, basketball, or soccer, you may get in the recommended amount of weekly physical exercise. Plus, getting into the spirit of light-hearted competition is sure to keep you on track with your activity.
Habits are just as hard to build as they are to break. If you have ever tried to stop smoking, drinking, or fully embrace a five-day-a-week workout plan, you know that habits can be a struggle. However, you are likely to build this healthy habit by committing to a team.
You don’t want to let your teammates down, right? Nor do you want your team to have to forfeit a game because of a player shortage. However, being part of something larger than yourself and having your teammates call you out on your absences will encourage you to build this new healthy habit!
If you are new to your community or have not yet been involved in your community’s events, joining a local team is a great way to meet your neighbors and be a part of your environment in a meaningful way. Engaging in your community can also lead to improvements in your leadership skills and your abilities to manage conflict, relationships, and your time.
Studies have suggested that regular physical activity may help you reduce your risk of developing severe diseases as you age, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. They also suggest that being active may reduce your risk of dementia because of the increased supply of oxygen and nutrients to your brain that occurs when you are actively involved in something recreational.
Learning a new sport can also improve your cognitive function and help you to better problem solve! In addition, many find that regular physical activity combined with recreational sport improves their mental well-being and ability to manage their emotions.
Learning a new sport or refining lost game skills is a fantastic way to develop your motor skills further. Being part of a team and learning new skills may be challenging, especially if you are an introvert. However, many find that their confidence grows as they improve and contribute to the team’s success.
I have found that being part of a supportive team that offers constructive criticism and ongoing support is a massive boost to my self-esteem. Even better, you can be that team member that builds someone up rather than tear them down.
Joining a family-friendly rec league is a great way to build skills together if you have a family. In addition, team sport is an opportunity to model critical skills to your children, such as sportsmanship, fair play, respect, and lessons learned from winning and losing.