Mental Health Benefits of Sports for Adults


Its never too late to try out for a team.


Not all of us were athletes in high school. For many people, the idea of being picked last, or trying to play a new sport was daunting, and those fears continue on into adulthood. It’s a real shame, because there are both physical and mental benefits of getting into adult sports, and childhood fears shouldn’t stop us from enjoying those benefits.

So if you have always been sort of interested in sports, but are holding onto some childhood trauma of being assaulted by a dodge ball, I formally invite you to let it go!

You are an adult now, and your body, mind, and soul have all grown since you were a kid. In fact, I would go so far as to say you should make a list of everything you were afraid of as a child, and do it all!

READ MORE: Three Ways Sports Can Help Fight Depression

Nowadays with the internet, it is easier than ever to join a casual sports league, or attend a meet-up event centered around sports. Taking part in adult sports has brought a lot of value to my own life, so I am only speaking from my own experiences. If that isn’t enough, here are a few of the ways that taking part in adult sports can improve your mental health.

Social Benefits. It’s an unscientific fact that making friendships as an adult can be difficult. One of the biggest reasons to take part in adult sports is the camaraderie that comes from being part of a team. Not only can you form new friendships around a shared interest, but it’s a healthy interest, so you are also more likely to encourage each other and hold each other accountable.

Mood Elevation. Anyone who has ever seen Legally Blonde knows that ‘exercise releases endorphins, endorphins makes you happy, and happy people don’t kill their husbands’. The science behind it is that physical exercise releases brain chemicals that make you happier and more relaxed. The cool thing about adult sports is they also provide a real sense of accomplishment, which is a bonus on top of all the stress relief.

Depression and Stress Reduction. Especially during the winter months, depression is a real problem for many people. Stress is one of the main contributors to many illnesses, and can even shorten your life-span. Adult sports help to counteract both of these, so taking part in one could literally extend your life.

Accountability. Unlike the gym, when you engage in adult sports there are people counting on you to show up. This creates a great opportunity to force yourself to stay active even when you don’t want to.

Better Sleeping Habits. Say what you will about sleeping, but the problems most people encounter with sleep have to do with thinking too much about what they did or didn’t get done in any particular day. Adult sports will not only tire you out, but they can also give you a sense of accomplishment, so even if you didn’t do everything on your to-do list, you can still sleep easy.

Concentration. In this day and age, the internet has made it harder than every to concentrate on one thing. Adult sports are about a singular goal, and you literally can’t be on your phone while you are engaged in a game. So not only can adult sports help curb your technology addiction, but they will help you re-acclimate to focusing on one thing at a time, which is a skill we could all stand to brush up on.

So, if you have been wondering what is missing from your life, looking for a way to be more social, or have an innate fear of sports in general, now is as good a time as any to give adult sports a try. The risk of injury is the only downside, and it isn’t an issue with proper stretching, warm-ups, and due diligence.


Published by karenmsutton

HSS Orthopaedic surgeon in sports medicine | Mother of 4 amazing children | Team physician for USA Women's Lacrosse | ACL injury expert

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