Since the first softball game commenced on Thanksgiving Day in 1887, people have joined teams around the world. In fact, more than 8.1 million people in the United States alone play the sport. It’s easy to see why. Playing softball provides a wide range of benefits that span physical, mental, and emotional health.
Softball Develops and Conditions the Body
Grabbing some softball gloves and starting up a game with your family and friends (or joining a team!) helps you create a stronger body. First, playing softball aids in the development of the upper body. Swinging the bat and throwing the ball builds the biceps, deltoids, and other muscles in the arms. The sport is also good for conditioning the mid and lower body because batting generates power that strengthens the core and the legs.
Softball Improves Heart and Lung Health
Part of playing softball is running bases when you hit the ball or chasing it down when you’re in the outfield. Running and jogging have been shown to improve both respiratory and cardiovascular health by increasing lung power and strengthening the heart. Overall, softball is an excellent full-body workout.
Softball Increases Flexibility
Playing softball isn’t just good for building strength but for increasing flexibility as well. As muscles are becoming stronger, they’re also working harder to throw balls, hit them, and run the bases. It’s hard to run your fastest or hit your hardest if your muscles are tight and sore, which is why it’s so important to stretch before a game. The combination of stretching before playing the sport and the running and arm movements that occur during a game helps to increase the player’s flexibility.
Softball Fosters Friendships
If you join a softball team, expect to have weekly practices as well as to train in the off-season. This means that you’ll be spending a lot of time with a team. Over time, your team members will likely become some of your best friends. You may even begin to spend time together outside of the sport. Many people end up building lifelong friendships that last for many years or even decades after you they stop playing the sport.
Softball Improves Self-Esteem
Team sports require a group effort. When you know that people are counting on you, you work harder to do better and often begin to feel improved feelings of self-worth. As you become better at the sport, you’ll feel more confident in your abilities, be happier with the friendships you made and begin to feel better about yourself overall.
Softball Burns Calories
Whether you want to lose weight or maintain your current one, softball is an excellent way to burn calories, often burning 300-500 per game. Burning calories is essential for your overall health because it keeps your blood vessels healthy and lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Burning calories can also help to prevent diabetes and a range of other health problems.
Softball Teaches You Teamwork and Accountability
When you play a team sport, you need to be willing to work as part of the team. Learning how each player contributes to the team and working together to reach the common goal of winning the game is essential. These skills can then be carried into other parts of your life, such as team projects at school or working together with people in your career life.
Accountability is an important benefit as well. Your actions affect everyone on the team. Knowing that people are depending on you to show up to practice and games and try your hardest makes you more likely to show up and always do your best.
Whether you’re playing a pickup game with your friends or looking for a local team to join, softball is beneficial for your physical health, mental health, and emotional health. If you’re interested in joining a local team, search for teams near you online or ask your local sporting facility if they have any resources for you.