Not everyone has the footwork of Megan Rapinoe or the speed and agility of Lindsey Vonn, but that does not mean you should quit your sport. The physical, mental, and social benefits of playing sports at any level, far outweigh the alternative of putting it down, simply because you are frustrated and/or aren’t Serena Williams just yet. While the fear of being cut or of riding the bench for a season is logical and valid, think about these advantages of sticking with it before you head into retirement.
Team and individual sports are a great way to maintain fitness at any age. Whether you are signing your five-year-old up for recreational soccer, or signing yourself up for boxing or indoor cycling classes, sports are a fun and easy way to stay in shape. Maintaining general fitness can be difficult to maintain in a world full of junk food and expensive gym memberships, but sports allow you to be active and obtain knowledge about different ways to workout, setting you up for success in the future.
Many of us spend long days staring at computer screens or sitting in classes with little opportunity to be active, and this can take a toll on our mental state. Playing sports, however, can reduce bouts of anxiety and depression by allowing you to pull your mind away from everyday stressors and help release endorphins that will boost your mood.
In addition to physical and mental health, team sports in particular offer a form of socialization that is hard to match in the classroom or the office. They are not only the perfect space to feel a part of something, but afternoons on the soccer field, basketball court, or wherever you may be gives you time to laugh and enjoy other people’s company. Additionally, the opportunity to compete and play for something bigger than ourselves is one that we often take for granted while we are kids–keep this in mind if you are thinking about putting sports aside.
The physical fitness, mental health, and social benefits of playing sports all combine to prolong your life. Whether you are part of a team or working at an individual sport, being an athlete gives you the tools to stay healthy and happy long term.
Possibility Of Improvement:
Lastly, you truly never know if something great could come of sticking with a sport. In other words, Katie Ledecky was not born with gold medals hanging from her neck, she worked for them, she earned them. We all start somewhere, likely on some club team with minimal coordination and skill–but consistency and hard work can result in amazing things. Keep playing, it will do more good than you can imagine.
While sports are not for everyone, they teach important lessons, bring people together, and keep you active. Before you let athletic ability define your success in sports, consider the advantages of sticking with it — they might be helpful down the road.