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5 Sports You Should Keep Playing Forever

Who says your kids get to be the only ones with soccer practice?

Playing a sport isn’t just for your children. Joining a team is a smart move for adults, too. Researchers have found that men who play a sport in adulthood are more likely to stay active as they age—even if they pick up that sport in mid-life. Not only does it benefit your body, but it can also be good for your soul. According to other research, women who participated in a group sport reported having better mental well-being and satisfaction with their lives than those who mostly did individual activities, like going to the gym. The researchers think this is because the organized sport activity helps you create friendships and boosts your self-esteem. And since adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, having a regular, fun way to do that can help you make sure you’re getting enough exercise.

Now’s the time to sign up for the next season. Trying to decide what league to join? Learn why you should pick up the following sports, and how you can stay healthy while playing them. 

How to Steer Clear of Injury 

Haven’t played in years, but starting up a new sport? Do it the smart way, and you can avoid hurting yourself. Remember to talk to your doc before you get started, and try these tips from Dustin Hogue, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor at Studio Three in Chicago. 

Train pre-season: Hit the gym and work on your strength and endurance. That way, you’ll have a fitness base before you step onto that field or court.
Build up gradually: If you haven’t been working out regularly, don’t try to play the full hour-long game off the bat. Start small—say, play 15 or 20 minutes—and then build up each week. You can also have family practice sessions with your partner and kids in your yard or a nearby park.
Warm up: Before you get in the game, spend five to 10 minutes to warm up your muscles. Try dynamic stretching—moves that take your body through a range of motion—such as lateral lunges, squats, and plank walk-outs.
Cool down: After that game or match, take five to 10 minutes to walk it out and stretch.

Get more great health and wellness stories at Parents.com/Strive.