Are you bored with your exercise routine? Tired of staring at the TV while on the elliptical or treadmill? Did you play sports your whole life until the reality of adulthood and a 9 to 5 job brought playing to a grinding halt? If any of these scenarios sound familiar to you, it might be time to shake up your routine and join an adult sports team! Even if you’ve never set foot on a court, field or diamond, if there’s a sport you’ve always wanted to play but never learned, joining an adult sport league can be a great way to learn a new skill, exercise and have fun! If this sounds like something you’d like to try, you most likely have a lot of questions. What sport should you play? Where are you going to find a team? What if you’ve never played before? Read on for some tips on what you could play, where to look and what to expect. The good news is that depending on where you live and work, there are often quite a few sports and activities to choose from--volleyball, softball, basketball, soccer and even kickball, dodgeball and ultimate frisbee! Start by checking with your local YMCA or your city’s parks and recreation department—they often have leagues already set up. There’s usually a fee to play but it is relatively inexpensive. Another possibility is to ask if your job has any workplace sponsored teams you could join. And if those don’t yield results, do an internet search for phrases like “adult basketball league in (your city)” or “coed softball league in (your city)” as these will often produce good results. If you’re just a beginner and worried about not being good enough for a team, don’t let that stop you! Some leagues have different levels of play available from beginner to more advanced. My city for example, has beginner, intermediate and advanced divisions in its volleyball league. Start out in the beginner league and as you improve you can move on to the next level of play. Or start with something that doesn’t require a lot of athletic prowess, like kickball! You can go to WAKA and put in your zip code to see if there are any leagues near you! (I just did it and found 1 locally and 2 others within an hour of my house!) Although joining a team may sound appealing, you may be wondering if it is really practical. Between work and family obligations who has the time for this? But remember that everyone else is dealing with time constraints too, so you can probably find something that will work with your schedule. If you’re still not convinced to give it a try, consider these benefits of joining an adult sports league that you may not have considered. You can: Meet new people and expand your social circle: Joining a team is a great way to meet people and make new friends. You already know you share at least one interest with the other members of your team, so it’s a good way to break the ice and get to know your teammates even better. There’s nothing quite like the camaraderie you build through teamwork on the playing field. Relieve stress: Playing in a basketball game or a beach volleyball game (or whatever your sport of choice is!) can be a great way to de-stress and blow off steam after a long day at work. It gives you the opportunity to get away from it all and escape from the routine of the workweek and the worries of daily life. I think we could all use a healthy escape like this from time to time! Have fun!: The importance of play doesn’t end with childhood. Sometimes we forget this as we grow older. Play bring joy and who doesn’t want more joy in their life? When you’re having fun playing a team sport you are engaged and connected and these feelings can be a tremendous boost to your mental health. Variety: Going to the gym every day or for a jog is certainly admirable and great for your health, but it’s also good to mix things up once in a while. When you play a team sport you’ll add variety to your workouts, you’ll get a change of scenery and you may have so much fun that you forget you’re exercising! Of course, you can’t overlook the very important fact that when you are physically active you are healthier. And we are all more likely to be physically active and stay physically active when we enjoy what we are doing! That’s why joining a sports league may be just the thing--not only will you get moving and reap the physical benefits of exercise, you’ll have fun doing it!