As a mom, and as someone who is no longer attending college, taking part in sport is probably a distant memory for you. Sure, you might watch a lot of sports – maybe you have a team you’ve followed since you were a kid, and it seems almost obligatory to watch the Superbowl every year. But aside from that, you’re probably happier cheering on your children from the sidelines than you are storming the pitch yourself. But just why is it that we shun sports so much as adults? It can sometimes feel as though when you leave college, you have to make a decision – either pursue your favorite sport as a career or give it up completely. But if you are struggling to find an exercise plan that works for you (and one that doesn’t completely bore you to death) finding a new sport could be the perfect option to help you keep fit and have fun at the same time. Interested? Take a look at just some of the reasons why it’s never too late to take up a new sport, and everything else you need to know about doing so.
Leave your insecurities at the door
If you were someone who hated gym class with a passion at school, you might wonder why on earth you would want to get back into sports as an adult. After all, if you hated it back then, what are the chances that you are going to like it now? Well, the first thing to remember is that sport as an adult is completely different to sport as a kid. At school, especially in your teenage years, hormones are raging, and gym class can often be a stressful and exceptionally heightened environment. This can lead to tempers flaring, and you can easily be turned on if you let your team down. It’s no wonder that so many of us hated gym class! But in an adult sports team, most people have mellowed out with maturity. Adults tend to understand that if you’ve never played the sport before, it’s unlikely that you are going to be an absolute pro right from the offset. Try and leave your preconceptions and nerves at the door and just throw yourself into it – and if you get stuck or you can’t keep up, ask for help.
Witness the fitness
Playing sport is one of those things that can help you lose weight and tone up without even realizing it. For many people, slogging away on the treadmill isn’t their idea of fun – the seconds tick by agonizingly slowly, and even after ten minutes of solid jogging, that calorie counter is still looking worryingly low. Okay, so we all know that we shouldn’t always go by what our gym equipment tells us. But it’s no secret that so many of us find the gym incredibly dull, and this is the point at which the workout motivation falls through the floor. Sport, on the other hand, engages both your brain AND your body, so the whole thing feels like less of a chore. Plus, isn’t winning a match or game a much more satisfying goal than simply making it to the end of a 5K on the elliptical? You can find adult leagues for a whole range of sports, ranging from adult softball to women’s football and even basketball. Just be mindful of any contact sports, though. Although serious accidents rarely happen, these types of sports are not without risk. Something as simple as landing the wrong way after a jump could result in a twisted or sprained foot, and before you know it you’re off to see the local ankle surgeon. You might still be in relatively good shape, but remember that you probably won’t be as physically capable as you were in your teens and twenties – so don’t push yourself too hard.
Engage your brain
We mentioned above that learning a new sport is not only good for your physical health, but it can also help to work out your brain as well. Studies have shown that regular physical activity has several long-term benefits on a person’s mental capabilities, improving their concentration, critical thinking skills, and judgment skills too. It can also help to fight debilitating mental illnesses such as depression because playing a sport can help to release endorphins in the brain – chemicals that are often referred to as ‘happy hormones.’ Regular sport can also help to improve sleep, as many people these days manage on poor quality sleep as a result of their sedentary lifestyles. After an hour’s hard training after work, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re going to sleep like a baby afterward!
Take some time for yourself
Us parents often struggle to get a minute for ourselves, and even when we do all it takes is for one child to start wailing and we’re straight back over to them as if ‘me-time’ doesn’t matter at all. By booking in a regular window every week where you go to your sports practice or engage in a match, you are unknowingly scheduling in essential time for yourself. For that hour or so, your mind has to be totally focused on the task at hand, meaning sport can be a welcome break from the stresses of everyday life and parenthood. It can also be a great opportunity to spend some time mixing with fellow adults – a welcome change when the person you most commonly have conversations with is your three year old! Remember that sport also holds a great social aspect to it – even if you prefer to take part in a non-team sport, you will still meet people from the club and the classes which you can mingle with. Sport is absolutely not something solely reserved for middle-school kids. If you’re looking for a new, fun way to get fit, see what’s going on in your local area.