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Try Team Sports for Fun and Fitness

Do you ever feel lonely or bored while running, walking, or lifting weights by yourself? If so, it may be time to join a team. Many people find exercise more rewarding when they can share the experience with others.

People who play on a team reap the benefits of meeting new people and learning new skills. Not only are they getting exercise, they're making new connections and watching themselves become better athletes.

The object of the game

No matter who you are or what you're doing, you've got to have fun. Having a good time doesn't mean you can't get a good workout. It does mean that you'll be more relaxed, you'll play better, and you'll probably stick with it.

The benefits of team sports

Not only are team sports a great way to exercise, but they also can help build skills that translate to other parts of your life. Skills such as focus, commitment and cooperation are essential to team sports. They can also come in handy in the workplace and in relationships with other people.

Start slow

It's important not to get in over your head when you're just starting out. If you are a beginner or have not played sports in a while, you'd probably do best in a beginner's league or in classes that teach basic skills. For instance, if you have never played soccer before or you haven't played it in a long time, you may want to start off by taking a class that covers basic ball handling skills or by joining a soccer team for beginners. Once you've honed your skills and built your confidence, you can progress to an intermediate league or more advanced classes.

Do some research

Before you join a team, figure out what kind of team experience you'd like to have. For instance, are you looking for a laid-back softball league for beginners or a competitive league for experienced players? Once you know where you would best fit in, try to locate a team and talk with your potential coach and teammates. Here are some questions to ask:

  • How much experience do the other players have?

  • How supportive or competitive are the players on the team?

  • How often do you practice?

If developing your skills on a team is important to you, ask the other players if the coach is a good teacher before signing up. Some teams are set up for people who want to learn a new sport, while others focus more on competition and winning. If you're just learning a new sport, you'll do better and have more fun if you find a team that focuses on learning.

Take the work out of workout

Keep in mind that getting into and staying in good shape is more than a goal--it's a lifelong journey. Being part of a team can make this journey feel less like an obligation and more like a pleasure. Many people who become active in team sports say the exercise benefits become secondary. It's the fun, physical challenge, and social connections that most often keep people playing sports for life.

No matter how much experience you have in team sports, there is a team for you. Don't be afraid to develop the athlete inside you.