Prevent cold-weather slump and stay in shape all year long by signing up for an intramural leagueBy: Emily G. W. Chau
Science shows that you’re hardwired to hibernate once it starts getting cold outside, but thanks to the rising popularity of local sports leagues, you can outsmart Mother Nature with a little team effort. Signing up for a recreational league—football, basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, indoor soccer, or even bowling—can provide just the motivation you need to overcome chilly-weather sloth. “Joining a local sports league is the best way to meet new people, hang out with your friends, and still get your workout in,” says Robert Herzog, CEO and founder of ZogSports, a co-ed social sports club in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an ex-athlete or an ex-artist—there’s a league that fits your personality and skill level. Read on to find one that’s right for you.
Winter weather doesn’t have to ball-and-chain you to a treadmill. Instead, try indoor soccer for a fun, but intense, alternative that’ll challenge your whole range of movement. Since you can bounce the ball off the walls, there are fewer throw-ins and corner kicks than in an outdoor game. That means that there are fewer breaks between plays, so you’re running, sprinting, or moving side-to-side for almost an entire hour.
Find an indoor soccer league.
Bowling is one of those “sports” where it’s equally acceptable to toss back a pint as a Powerade. You don’t have to run. You don’t have to catch. A little light lifting aside, you barely have to break a sweat. The ultimate social sport—emphasis on social—bowling relies more on accuracy and form than sheer athleticism, making it a great way for the otherwise workout-wary to stay active.
Find a local bowling league.
Like comic books and Converse shoes, dodgeball is one of the few things from our awkward phase that we’re not embarrassed to still embrace. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t picked up one of those rubber balls since junior high—dodgeball is the kind of sport that’s accessible to everyone. “No one is an ex-college dodgeball player,” points out Herzog. “So most people are focused on going out and having a good time.” Plus, there’s something truly stress relieving about being able to chuck a ball and have at it.
Find a local dodgeball league.
Between cardio workouts, try to spike, set, and save for a change. While there’s not much running required, volleyball has more than enough action to keep you moving and engaged. Because volleyball is a mid-intensity sport, it’s a good way to meet people, and is the perfect combination of camaraderie and competition. Plus, all the jumping and lunges are good for leg and glute development. Win or lose, after a tough match, you’ll still have the energy to hang out with your teammates and celebrate.
Find a local volleyball league.
Calling all former linebackers and powderpuff players: Nothing screams fall louder than football. Tall, short, stocky, or skinny as a bean pole—whatever your size or ability—touch football welcomes diversity since there are a number of positions to field, each suited towards a unique set of talents. Can’t run? Block. Not big enough to block the line? Get open for a pass. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the last taste of the outdoors before the winter chill settles in.
Find a local touch football league.
Take your pickup game to the next level with a basketball sports league. The games are fast paced and the small teams often made up of more hardcore players, so you know you’ll get a good workout. Compared to some other rec teams, shooting hoops tends to attract people who have a deep love for the sport itself, says Herzog, so you’ll know that everyone’s mind is in the game.
Find a local basketball league.
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