Don’t play through pain—see your health care provider or an orthopedic specialist if you get injured. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Team sports aren’t just for kids.

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Our Take

Travis Menge, MD, would like to emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.

“There are numerous opportunities throughout our community for staying active, including both individual and team sports across all levels of competition,” the Spectrum Health Medical Group orthopedic surgeon said.

“Even if you are just a beginner, there are programs for helping you achieve your personal fitness and well-being goals.”

Keeping active at any level, Dr. Menge added, is an important component of reducing stress, becoming further engaged in your community, and developing a healthy lifestyle.

They offer adults a wealth of benefits, including a greater feeling of well-being, reduced stress and a strong sense of community.

You have many options for finding an adult club or team-based sport in your area. Your local park and rec department or “Y” might sponsor such activities.

The World Adult Kickball Association has expanded to provide adult leagues in a variety of sports from softball to soccer—learn more at kickball.com.

If your child is on a team that’s coached by an outside professional, that coach may know of adult sports teams looking for new members.

But just as you wouldn’t send a child out onto a playing field without some prep steps, you don’t want to join a pickup game of basketball or sign up for a soccer league without taking some precautions.

Stay sports safe:

  • Get a “pre-season” physical.
  • Stay strong and flexible with regular strength training and stretching.
  • Warm up and cool down properly.
  • Always wear protective gear and make sure needed equipment is in good condition.
  • Make sure the field/court is in good condition.
  • Avoid playing outdoors in bad weather to minimize injury risk.
  • Hydrate as needed during play when you feel thirsty.
  • Don’t play through pain—see your health care provider or an orthopedic specialist if you get injured.

Most sports injuries stem from a lack of education and awareness about safety, wearing the wrong equipment, and being out of condition. So bone up on the ins and outs of your sport and get a checkup—a sports physical—if you’re out of shape.

On game days, make sure that everyone follows safety rules. Know that some medications, like allergy or cold remedies, can dehydrate you, and adjust your water intake as needed. Also, take breaks to prevent overuse injuries.

Now, what are you waiting for? Get off the couch and into the game!