Yearly, millions of men across the country pack the gym. Unfortunately, some aren’t feeling satisfied with their results. Many have moved to alternative workouts such as HIIT or Tabata. One study declares men can get better results by doing something very commonplace: playing sports.
On the court or in the field
University College London researcher Daniel Aggio wanted to see how middle-aged men kept themselves healthy. In a 20 year study, 3,500 men from the British Regional Heart Study had their physical activities tracked. The study showed nearly half of the participants engaged in sports to stay fit. It also revealed those specific middle-aged men had a greater chance to be more physical in their older years. Individuals that played sports for 25 years were five times as likely to reach that goal. “Regularly playing sports, particularly from earlier in life, may help to develop and maintain the necessary skills and physical function needed to maintain an active lifestyle into old age. Taking up a sport, even in midlife or early old age, may increase the chances of being active in old age,” Aggio told Time.
No different from the gym
Sports offer the same health benefits you’d get during a regular workout. Unlike the gym, however, there’s the added bonus of building relationships and strengthening teamwork abilities. Understanding how to work as part of a unit is essential in the office. If you’ve always wanted to work out in a group, playing sports is also ideal. “Team sports are a fun way to get in your exercise for cardiovascular health because you get to do it in a group as opposed to doing it alone, plus it’s a great stress reliever, which helps lower your risk for heart disease,” Helga Van Herle, MD told Forbes.
Another factor in playing sports involves the weather. Maneuvering outside can lead to a better mental state and decreased insomnia. Having a clear head will make you more productive when you need it most.
Sports that everyone loves
The most popular sport to play with others is soccer. In 2018, the World Football Report stated 736 million people worldwide had an interest in the sport. Its fast-paced action is enough to give you a great workout. “It’s as good as interval running when it comes to the cardio training, and it’s as good as long-distance jogging or cycling, when it comes to endurance. It’s also as good as lifting weights when it comes to the musculoskeletal benefits,” University of Southern Denmark professor Peter Krustrup told the American Heart Association.
The second most popular sport is basketball. In a study by SGMA Study, 26 million Americans play the game every year. Out of that number, nearly 16 million play it casually at a local basketball court. Aside from being fun to play, it’s one of the most inclusive sports around. “Basketball can be played by paraplegics and the rules are simple enough to be understood by most,” personal trainer Caleb Backe told Fatherly.
Add more activities to the mix
While sports can be beneficial, it’s important to engage in other healthy activities. “Early engagement in sport and structured exercise may be vital for developing the necessary motor skills needed to establish a lifelong habit for physical activity. However, it may also be important to provide opportunities to take up other forms of activity, such as walking, during the transition to old age,” Aggio said in the study.
Some activities for those looking to skip the gym include running, push-ups, and squats. Incorporating these before or after a game can increase your overall performance. Gaining a healthy body is important for everyone whether they’re shooting a basket or scoring a goal.