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Although fall offers what is arguably the best workout weather of the year, we have to admit that it’s also kind of an in-between season—there’s nothing obvious you’re working toward (like getting into a new bikini) and there’s nothing big you’re recovering from (like a month of holiday excess). Without a clearly defined carrot dangling in front of you, it can be challenging to stay motivated. And if you’re in the habit of working out alone, there’s no one to hold you accountable for your commitment.
Well, here’s one easy way to get around ALL of those self-imposed obstacles: Join an adult sports team. If you were athletic as a child or young adult, you’ve got to miss the camaraderie of working with a group towards a common goal. And if you’ve never played on a team before, you’ve got nothing to lose… except, perhaps, a few unwanted pounds.
Strength in Numbers. You don’t need to be the star player to benefit from being part of a team. In addition to meeting new people and learning or honing various physical skills, you’ll be practicing habits that translate to other parts of your life, as well. When you play on a team, working and competing together in the spirit of fun, you’re sharpening your focus, demonstrating commitment and practicing cooperation—and hopefully, learning to be a gracious winner AND loser. These are all skills that are essential to maintaining healthy relationships, both in the workplace and at home. Now here’s the best part: While your brain is busy managing the social aspects of sportsmanship, your body is likely to just relax and do its thing. Suddenly, you’ve taken the "work" out of your workout… and formed some incredible new friendships in the process. Pretty cool, huh?
Getting Started. Not sure where to begin? Go with your gut. If you’re more interested in fun and fitness than competition, start with the people you know best. Check with like-minded friends to see if there’s a potential team brewing in any of your circles. Having a friend on the team will make you less likely to flake out, and give you a carpool buddy as well. Close with your co-workers? Ask around; your company may already have a team that’s looking for new players. In these cases, it almost doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing—the primary goal is to have fun, get some exercise and enjoy a shared experience. If you want to showcase your expertise in a particular sport, though, you may want to do a little recon first. Check out the local leagues and interview potential coaches and teammates to ensure a good fit— and a win-win all the way around.