The only thing better than being taken out to the ball game—cue the iconic Billy Joel rendition—is, well, to be in it.
Sports predate Moses and his pals, and sport as an organized recreation is hardly a new advent. In fact, intramural rec sports were integrated into university curriculums as early as 1913.
But you don’t need to be in college—or work for a corporate company with an associated sports league—to join in on the fun.
It’s well-established that exercise not only benefits your physical well-being, but your mental health, too. Some doctors even recommend exercise to those suffering from anxiety or depression, maintaining that physical activity can be a successful complementary treatment for these illnesses, often enhancing the effects of antidepressant medication, or in some cases, eliminating the need.
But throwing on a workout tape (I never left the ’90s) or even taking a trip to the gym, can feel pretty solitary. Joining a rec sports team, however, adds an extra layer of social engagement that allows you to release all sorts of wonderful endorphins.
I, myself, joined a local co-ed softball team, and while I can’t provide the scientific evidence, I can vouch that it’s made me a happier person. Meeting new people, experiencing team camaraderie, and adhering to a strict weekly exercise schedule has done wonders for my overall health.
Ashlee Chan, an advertising strategist who spends most of her day behind a computer, experienced a similar success:
“I joined my first recreational volleyball team with my acquaintance, Christine, who I’d met through my then-roommate. Speaking as a person who doesn’t stick to a regular gym regimen, I believe the team helped me stay in shape,” says Chan. “But without a doubt, I’m most grateful for becoming best friends with Christine through the program.”
So now you’re sold, right? If I’ve done my job, you’ve stopped reading this page have headed to Google to search for local rec sports leagues in your area.
But before you commit…take a minute to educate yourself on how many calories could burn while hanging around and playing ball for an hour.
Check out the breakdown:
- One hour-long game of high-arc softball (arguably the most sedentary of competitive sports) can have the average person burning as many as 364 calories.
- One hour-long game of flag football can dial up the burn to the tune of 656 calories.
- And a one-hour long game of volleyball can make the average person burn anywhere from 266 to a whopping 710 calories!
So as long as you’re not undoing all your hard work by doing keg-stands at your local bar to celebrate a win—or to mourn a loss—you can easily accrue your daily activity from a friendly bout of recreational sports.
So hey, even if you don’t win, it isn’t a shame:
“We didn’t win a single game, but our hearts were always in it,” recounts Chan. “And after every game, I’d feel a sense of accomplishment and confidence that had otherwise been lost.”
So there you have it: buy yourself some peanuts and crackerjacks, and play ball.