Changing your lifestyle can be daunting, but it isn’t impossible! It takes hard work and a good support network to be successful. Small steps over time can yield big results.
One way to improve your chances of successfully jumpstarting a new, healthier lifestyle is to find something fun to do that incidentally involves physical activity. Grinding away at the gym or taking on restrictive diets aren’t the only ways to improve your health.
A great way to ensure long-term change is to be realistic about the changes you make. Combining the time you spend being active with the time you spend hanging out with your friends is a great way to ensure you’ll look forward to your workout.
Here are seven underappreciated sports for getting in shape with friends.
Racquetball is similar to badminton and tennis in that it involves a racquet (or racket) and a ball, but there is no net. Instead, two to four players compete by bouncing the ball against a wall. The goal is to bounce it against the wall so that it bounces back to the other player. If you don’t hit the ball back, your opponent gains a point.
The great thing about racquetball is how deceptively widespread it is: most gyms have racquetball courts and offer members the equipment to play in them. All you need is a couple of willing friends and you’ve got a game going!
Ultimate frisbee seems like something only frat boys and your dad’s best friend would find interesting, but there actually is a dedicated following if you know where to look. Ultimate frisbee asks its players to hone their aim as well as their physical acumen.
Ultimate frisbee has the same basic rules of soccer. There are teams and goals, but the specific rules vary league to league. Basically, you are playing competitive frisbee. It’s a no contact sport as mandated by most leagues, and it is said to be very friendly to newcomers. (Just don’t call their “flying discs” frisbees!)
Badminton has been relegated to the realms of garden parties and barbecues in the minds of many, but badminton boasts an avid fanbase. There are entire national leagues and competitions established for the practice of what many people consider a miniature tennis.
Badminton is cardio intensive. It’s smaller than tennis, but that makes the barrier to entry much lower without compromising the physical demands of the sport.
Paddle-boarding is a great way for nature lovers to combine their affection for the great outdoors with some good ol’ fashioned physical activity. Though paddle-boarding is a relaxing sport offering great views and solitude for those who seek it, don’t be fooled by its easygoing veneer: paddle-boarding can be as demanding as the paddler needs it to be.
Paddle-boarding is just what the name sounds like: you buy a stand up paddle board, head to the nearest body of water, and climb aboard! You stand on the board and navigate the water with a long oar. While you’re enjoying the bounty of nature, you’re also working out your core and improving both endurance and balance.
Laser tag can be a one-off thing, or it can be a commitment similar to that of a baseball league. There are enough diehard fans of the “sport” that you can find regulars to make it a weekly event, but it’s best played with a group of friends as enthused about the game as you are.
Laser tag is usually played as a team sport. It involves chasing people around obstacle courses—usually darkly lit and swathed in neon stripes. You wear chest plates connected to laser pointers shaped like guns and basically hunt down your competitors to laser tag them. Need I say more?
Disc golf is a trend that really took off in the southeastern United States. Don’t be fooled into thinking that disc golf bares more than a passing resemblance to its geriatric cousin, the dreaded classic golf. Disc golf is a whole different, much more engaging beast!
So what is disc golf? Disc golf involves the same basic rules as golf, but with large, netted baskets instead of holes and a frisbee instead of a golfball. There is a lot of walking, and the time spent walking passes quickly when you’re doing it with friends.
Your favorite game as a kid has a gotten a grownup makeover! Adult kickball leagues have been sprouting up all over the place. There’s no reason why you can’t get in on the fun!
Kickball is a team sport similar to soccer and baseball both, but there are less stringent rules. It’s got the same setup as baseball, but the games are played with a large kickball instead of a thrown, small baseball. It’s an all-around more relaxed vibe with a shallow learning curve. Because it’s a favorite of kids, there isn’t a lot of skill to be cultivated, here.