For most adults, the experience of playing a team sport ends in high school or college but there is growing evidence team sports have many benefits for both the body and mind.
While the fitness aspect of playing a sport is obvious it may be the social interaction and working towards a common objective, the essence of team sports, that have the greatest impact. Following a monotonous physical routine week after week can be tedious and boring. A solo workout is easy to skip as we can make many excuses to convince ourselves to avoid the workout, something else we should be doing. Joining a team creates an environment of bonding and cements friendships and ties to the community. Having a weekly event gives us something to look forward to and prepare for every week. Getting a good night's sleep before the big game, preparing the pre game meal, hydrating and even the pre game nap will all have positive impacts on your mental and physical health.
When you are a member of a team there is more pressure to maintain and improve your physical condition. You do not want to let your team down and be the weak link and thus you will be more motivated to train for the event and practice. Practice leads to repetitions of movements and these repetitions have a great mental stimulus. It is also great for discipline. Giving yourself an objective and driving yourself towards that goal is very rewarding. To be effective in team sports you need to build a synergy between the mind and body.
There are plenty of studies that demonstrate the connection between elderly health and staying active but in regard to team sports there is something else at work. Something that is difficult to quantify. Something on another level engaging the sense of community, purpose, accomplishing a task together as a group.
So go dust off your cleats, tennis shoes, ping pong paddles, skates, baseball gloves, pom poms, bowling balls and get out and get started. Live longer, happier. Get back in the game!