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The Best Sports To Play When You're Bereaved


Bereavement Relief

Posted On: Oct 08, 2016

The Best Sports To Play When You're Bereaved

Physical activity is always important, not only in maintaining good shape, but in staving off sadness and depression. Chemically, exercise can release neurotransmitters that contribute to happiness.

Still, who wants to do push ups, sit ups, and crunches all day? These activities manage to be both grueling and boring.  Happily, there are plenty of fun ways to get your exercise in, and some of the best are through playing sports. Here are the best sports to play while you're grieving – no experience required in any of them to have fun.


No sport gives you the beautiful views and vistas that golf does, and few take you out into nature the way the best golf courses do. Golf is, in many ways, a sport of concentration and execution, very measured and slow-paced. It gives your mind something to focus on (“should I use a 7 or an 8-iron here? Does this putt look like it breaks to the left?”) besides the pain, and if you don't feel up to intense exertion or running yet, then golf is even better. It's the ultimate relaxing game. When your tee shot ends up just off the fairway, and so you find yourself hitting under a majestic oak tree, the smell of the season in the air, birds singing, and squirrels scampering all around you, peace will seem just a bit more attainable.


If you DO feel up to running now, why don't you do just that – go for a run? Running is indeed a sport, even if you're not racing anyone other than yourself. Like with golf, the views while running can be spectacular, namely because they are completely up to you: you decide if you want to run through the neighborhood, through a nature trail, a park, or even at the gym if the weather isn't cooperating or you want to be around more people.  Running can be very mind-clearing, and you might even get the benefit of “runner's high,” a kind of euphoria that makes one feel like they can go on running forever. It's better, and healthier, than any drug.


The downside of golf and running is they can be isolating (although of course you can do both with friends), so there is something to be said about the value of team sports. Kickball ticks off a lot of great boxes. It's a group event, so you get to socialize if you feel up to it – that's arguably what adult kickball leagues are for in the first place. It's a collaborative, cooperative sport as well. You work together as a team (for instance, by backing up the middle infielders on throws from the outfield, or by trying to kick a sacrifice fly to move your teammate over a base). It's nostalgic, at least in the United States, where most of us played it in gym class as kids. And you absolutely do not have to be any good at kickball in particular or be athletic in general to enjoy it and get something out of it – it's a social league and sport, remember? So just have fun. You need it.