Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Blog - 10+ Adult Team Sports That Promote Movement And Socialization
When you think of playing a team sport, do you have tunnel vision of your school-age days? Or do you associate organized athletics with cheering for your kids on the sidelines? Just because you’re an adult now doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy the camaraderie and physical benefits that come from team sports.
Participation Is on the Rise
It's because of these benefits that more adults are participating in physical activities (including organized sports) than ever before. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) says that in 2022, more Americans engaged in at least one sport, physical exercise, or outdoor leisure activity compared to the five years prior.
The COVID-19 pandemic likely had something to do with this increase. Ever since organized sports were re-launched with post-pandemic safety measures, many have seen an increase in interest and participation. This is likely a result of the pandemic's impact on mental health — more people wanted to get out of their homes and interact with others.
Now if the thought of joining an adult sports league interests you, which one should you choose? And how do you join? Let’s explore some of the most popular options:
SFIA reports that participation in pickleball leagues almost doubled in 2022, rising 85.7% year-over-year and 158.6% over 3 years. That makes it America’s fastest-growing sport!
Pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. This paddle sport is usually played in an area that’s about the size of a badminton court. Participants use a plastic ball with holes, as well as paddles that look like large table tennis paddles.
Played as a singles or doubles game, the goal is to hit the ball over the net and land it within the court's limits. Many adults love it because it’s simple to learn and playable by people of all ages and athletic abilities.
Adult basketball leagues remain a popular choice. Participation in adult basketball leagues has grown 13% since 2019, according to SFIA. Whether you're a seasoned player or you simply enjoy the game, joining a neighborhood basketball team is a great way to exercise without realizing it.
Adult soccer leagues are another growing sport. SIFA reports a 4.5% increase in participation over the past 3 years. If your goal is to get your body moving and burn calories, this is a fantastic way to do it. Joining a local adult soccer league is an opportunity to meet new people, get active, and improve your athletic skills.
Another fan-favorite adult sport is flag football, which is just as popular as outdoor soccer. These leagues usually have teams of 5–7 people who play on a smaller field than traditional football. Instead of tackling, players pull the flags attached to their opponents’ waists. This activity is high-energy and involves tons of running and sprinting — perfect for cardiovascular health.
There are several national organizations that offer adult flag football leagues, including the National Flag Football Association and the American Flag Football League. These organizations offer both recreational and competitive leagues, so you can choose the level of competition you prefer.
Adult volleyball leagues are also popular in many areas — and you can play this sport indoors or outdoors. The leagues usually feature teams of 6 players on each side of the net. Playing volleyball means plenty of jumping, diving, and quick movements. Plus, it requires coordination and balance to hit the ball in the right spot. All of this — along with the camaraderie of a team sport — benefits your well-being.
Consider joining a local ultimate Frisbee team if you're searching for a more unique and fast-paced sport. This activity combines aspects of soccer and football with the use of a Frisbee. It requires running, jumping, throwing, and diving. Tap into your competitive side, meet new people, and get your mind off any day-to-day stress.
Did you love playing kickball during gym class when you were younger? Just because you’re an adult now doesn’t mean you have to kiss those memories goodbye. Adult kickball leagues are all the rage because they provide a fun and social way to stay active and connect with others. Playing kickball means plenty of running, jumping, kicking, and sprinting — making it an excellent form of aerobic exercise (with a pinch of nostalgia, too.)
This is another throwback to school days and the perfect way to release frustrations in a healthy way. Adult dodgeball leagues are a relatively new phenomenon, and while they’re gaining popularity in some areas, they’re not as widely established as other adult sports leagues. There are several dodgeball organizations, such as The National Dodgeball League (NDL) and The World Dodgeball Association (WDA), and if you live near a larger city, you’re more likely to find an adult dodgeball league.
If you love being on the water, this sport is for you. Rowing is a low-impact exercise that involves the use of many muscle groups, including the legs, core, back, and arms. Even though it burns calories and works your muscles, it’s gentle on the joints, making it a good option for those with joint pain or mobility issues.
Rowing is classified into two types: Sweep rowing and sculling. In sweep rowing, each person uses 1 paddle and rests on 1 side of the canoe. Sweep boats can have 2, 4, or 8 rowers, with 1 coxswain steering the canoe and directing the paddlers. For sculling, each rower uses 2 paddles, 1 in each hand. Sculling vessels can have 1, 2, or 4 paddlers, with or without a coxswain.
Whether you're a novice or a seasoned player, joining an adult tennis league is a wonderful way to improve your game and meet other tennis aficionados in your area. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) League is a popular adult tennis club that offers structured competition for people of all ages and skill levels. Teams of 4 or more players compete in USTA leagues, with teams playing against others in their local region.
How to Join an Adult Sports Team
Many local parks and recreation departments or community organizations offer adult sports leagues. The above list is a small sampling of the possibilities out there. Depending on where you live, you might also have softball, hockey, swimming, badminton, bowling, golf, and others.
To join a team, check with your area rec center to see what’s available. You can also search online using local keywords, or on social media using relevant hashtags, to find team sports near you.
Let’s get moving! Join us for our upcoming Move Your Body, Clear Your Mind Challenge, sponsored by Humana. The 10-day challenge begins May 1, 2023! Sign up here today!
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great post! love this