Post Content

AlisonBrill Posted by Alison T. Brill, MPH, Community Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

BoysSoccerTeamHuddleGrowing up, I was always running around. Sitting still was never my forte (and it still isn’t). I found a productive way to channel my energy into sports, playing basketball, softball and lacrosse on the city and school teams, and kickball at recess. (Go Untouchables, Pink Flamingos and Trevians!) While I loved pretending to be a Harlem Globetrotter, catching fly balls, and sprinting down the field, the camaraderie among my fellow teammates is what made the sport come alive. We were there for each other as we celebrated our wins, and channeled our losses into motivation to practice harder and play better next time. During weekly practices and games, we supported and enouraged each other on the field, and went out for frozen yogurt after games, building strong relationships. We were more than teammates – we were friends. In fact, I'm still friends with many people I met on my childhood teams.   

WheelchairHandballGame2We all know that physical activity is good for your health. But did you know that social sports have benefits beyond the physical? Adults who play on social or team sports enjoy better mental health and life satisfaction than people who exercise at a gym or walk alone. Sports teach us to cooperate as part of a team, and feel a connection and identity with others. Not only do team sports offer mental and physical health benefits, but research suggests that we’re more likely to maintain our physical activity when it’s combined with social support. There's a sense of pride and community in being part of a team. When people feel connected to others and to something larger, they tend to be more satisfied with their life, and feel more hopeful and more confident in their abilities.

The same holds true for young people. Research has shown that among youth, ages 12-14, those who played on a sports team said they felt healthier and expressed more overall satisfaction with their life. A sense of community and a great deal of socialization are just some of the advantages of being on a sports team, particularly among pre-teen youth who are going through developmental stages and times of transitions. Participating in team sports can even enhance school connectedness, social support and bonding among friends and teammates, as youth (and adults alike) feel that they are part of something bigger and contributing to a community goal.

To find organized team sports near you, visit: http://massachusetts.sportsvite.com/leagues/ or http://masssportsclub.com/

Or, round up some friends and neighbors for a pick-up game of your favorite sport, or some good old fashioned kickball or capture the flag. See you on the field!

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Recent Posts

Asbestos: An Old Health Hazard Still With Us Today posted on Jun 20

Asbestos: An Old Health Hazard Still With Us Today

Think back to when you were in school – do you remember seeing pipes that looked like they were covered in white paper mache and those colorful floor tiles?  There is a good chance that those pipe coverings and floor tiles contained asbestos. Asbestos is   …Continue Reading Asbestos: An Old Health Hazard Still With Us Today

Highlights of the June 14th Public Health Council Meeting posted on Jun 14

This month’s PHC meeting included a single Determination of Need (DON) request, a series of updates on the status of proposed amendments to regulations, a vote on a final amendment, and an informational update for members on tickborne illness surveillance in Massachusetts. First, the Council   …Continue Reading Highlights of the June 14th Public Health Council Meeting

“Kids Can’t Fly: Window Safety for Warmer Weather” posted on Jun 6

“Kids Can’t Fly: Window Safety for Warmer Weather”

Warmer weather is here and it is time to open up the windows and let fresh air in! Sadly, while spring and summer bring warmer weather, this time of year we hear about children seriously injuring themselves or even sometimes dying from a fall. A leading   …Continue Reading “Kids Can’t Fly: Window Safety for Warmer Weather”