The psychological benefits of team sports

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(April 23, 2015)- They may have gray hair and sore knees and be old enough to have grandchildren, but all that age stuff goes out the window when the over 50 hockey league takes the ice.

Team sports is still mainly the province of the young. But increasingly, men in middle age and older are joining sports teams, and reaping important physical and psychological benefits.

“In addition to the physical exercise, I think there’s a tremendous benefit from team participation,” says Dr. Adolph Hutter of Massachusetts General Hospital. “You get to play with your buddies.

You get to compete with them. You get to have a beer afterwards. The social aspect is just phenomenal.”

Research has shown a connection between social interaction and physical health. In fact, one study found that men with robust social networks had a decreased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease when compared with men who were more isolated.

“I don’t think there’s any age limit to start getting active. The only thing is the older you are the more careful you should start-and start with guidance, then gradually build up,” says Dr. Hutter.

Playing on a sports team not only offers a built in appointment with physical activity, which is very important, but also a built-in opportunity to cement friendships.

4 Your Health is presented by American Senior Communities.

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