Written by: Holly Schaeffer
Mastering new skills is always an enriching experience. And sports are a great place to start.
Learning a new sport goes much further than helping you get fit or finding an outlet for excess energy and stress. It can improve your physical and cognitive abilities, expose you to new challenges, and allow you to adopt a growth mindset. Even more importantly, it can teach you life skills that will come in handy outside the gym, allowing you to get ahead at school or work.
So, if you’ve been thinking about doing something for yourself, why not take up a sport you’re intrigued by? You’ll surely feel the benefits in record time!
Sports and physical health
Most people think of exercise as a way to stay fit, but there’s much more to it than good looks. Movement is crucial to leading a long and healthy life, and could even be a way to manage and prevent chronic health conditions.
According to the CDC, adults need about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, which is around five 30-minute sessions. In this regard, you’ll do great with sports such as kickboxing, rowing, cross-country skiing, and skateboarding.
To get even more benefits, you can combine your cardio with strength and mobility training. Even a couple of weekly gym sessions can give you an edge. But you could also join a yoga class online so that you don’t have to worry about scheduling workouts.
Want a sport that will do all this, and more? Try boxing. It’s great for agility and strength, plus it’s excellent for heart health. Furthermore, boxing will give you some basic self-defense skills, which are always good to have.
Stress relief & mental health
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Besides the obvious physical health benefits of sports, it’s not a bad idea to consider the way activity can improve mental health as well.
Firstly, physical exercise has long been used as a method to treat depression and anxiety with successful results. A regular fitness regime can reduce depression up to 30% in adults, and could even contribute to slowing down cognitive decline associated with old age.
But, perhaps even more importantly, engaging in physical activity holds the potential of improving overall mood. This is mainly thanks to the release of endorphins, but exercising in a group and being surrounded by people may also be a contributing factor.
This means that, if what you’re after is better mental health, taking up a sport might be a good method of self-care. So choose any activity you feel like you’d enjoy, and see how it makes you feel.
Spend time doing what you love
If you’re already a sports fan but tend to limit your enjoyment to being a spectator, it might not be a bad idea to give your favorite pastime a real go.
Basketball is an excellent example of a sport you can learn with friends. Plus, you won’t need much more than a ball and a decent pair of shoes. If you’re into disciplines like golf, tennis, or baseball, you might have to seek out facilities in your vicinity, and invest in equipment. Nonetheless, there are many online resources where you can look for information about the sports that interest you, so you can make the best choices.
Know that having a passion for an activity will only make you motivated to pursue it. And sometimes, that can come in quite handy, especially considering how difficult it can be to get moving after a hard day of work.
Boost your social skills & creativity
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Who says that sports are only good for your health? Or that they’re just a hobby?
Science has proven time and again that participating in group activities can make us maximize our potentials. This is especially true with teamwork, leadership skills, problem-solving, and creativity.
If you’re not exactly the sporty type of person, you can still choose a physical skill that will engage you mentally. Dance is an excellent example. Take up ballet to work on your confidence, social dancing to speed up your cognitive skills, or a lesser-known style like Bollywood to widen your horizons. Who knows, you might just find the spark of inspiration you’ve been missing all this time.
Finally, don’t forget the potential that learning a new sport can have in widening your social circle. After all, if you join a group activity, you’re bound to meet new people. And, you might just find that hanging out with them is an enjoyable way to spend your time.
Whether you already have a wide circle of friends or you’re looking for great opportunities to connect with likeminded people, a team sport might just be the ideal choice.
And, you’ll find that having more friends is better for your mental and physical health as well – which only goes to show how many benefits there are to learning a new sport.
Finding a way to enjoy physical movement is such a big aspect of a healthy and fulfilled life. For many, participating in sports might just prove to be that source of enjoyment.
So, whether you’re bored of classic gym workouts, want to meet new people, or just feel like you could use a challenge, why not think of a sport that interests you and give it a go?
The worst that can happen is that you realize it’s not for you. But it might just come to be a passion. So don’t be afraid of taking a chance, and go for it.