Whether it's your next match or an upcoming race, competing athletically gives you something to work toward. You aren't going out for a run or off to practice simply because you have to. You're doing it because you want to do the best you can when that competition day comes. Being able to pinpoint that moment when you want to be at your peak is also helpful, because it allows you to figure out when rest is more important than training. Instead of feeling guilty for not making it to the gym, you can take a day off knowing that you're letting your body heal so it will be ready when it counts. Having a focus point can make sticking to a fitness plan seem far more manageable and worthwhile.
There are no limits when it comes to picking the right form of athletic competition for you. If you're someone who thrives in a team atmosphere, consider joining a group that competes in soccer, baseball, volleyball, dodgeball or whatever other sport you enjoy. Or if you'd rather train on your own, maybe signing up for a running or biking race is the right choice. You don't by any means have to be the best at whatever you choose to do — just pick something you will enjoy, and have fun with it!
Whether it's at practice a few times a week, with a training group or simply on race day, engaging in athletic competition opens doors to encountering new and interesting individuals. If you choose to join a recreational sports team, meeting up with the same group of people on a regular basis allows you to bond with your teammates and forge new friendships that could last a lifetime. Or if you prefer to do something on your own, such as a race, consider joining a training group to build friendships that way. Competitive fitness is a great way to get to know others, so take advantage of the opportunity!
Above all else, athletic competition can be a whole lot of fun. Whether it's the thrill of working with a team or simply pushing yourself to do better than you thought you could, you can truly have a blast. It doesn't have to be about winning a championship or beating someone else's time or anything like that. It can really just be something you do for you — and that's a wonderful gift to give yourself.
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