The meta-data looked at 1,685 peer-reviewed studies, and found being active in sports helps adolescents stay out of trouble, feel like they belong and have a more integral role in society, and boost self-confidence.
Adults can also benefit from playing recreational sports. Being on a team can strengthen mental health and well-being, making you feel more content in life, and maybe even prevent dementia as you age.
We've become pretty antisocial with our reliance on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They've encouraged solidarity, weakening parts of your brain that contribute to loneliness, the researchers say.
"Playing sport in a club has general psychosocial benefits—that is also a unique feature of a group activity," lead study author Hans-Peter Hutter, Ph.D., said in a press release. "Social contacts keep you vital, because you have to respond to your opposite number. This improves your cognitive abilities."