Sometimes it seems like runners get all the fun and glory: They get their daily exercise outside of a boring gym, they get to participate in organized competitions, and earn medals they can subsequently brag about on Facebook. But the thing is, not everyone likes running.

If you have a competitive streak, but aren’t interested in channeling Forrest Gump, try one of these adult sports instead.

Flag Football

What it is: In a nutshell, it has the basic rules of regular football, with a lot less tackling. Instead of knocking someone to the ground to stop a play, you grab those Velcro-d flags hanging around her waist. Some city recreational leagues offer two-hand-touch football as an alternative, which involves slightly more contact. Instead of pulling a flag, you (gently) tap a player with both hands to stop a play—again, tackling not welcome.

Number of People On a Team: Flag football teams can range from four to seven people, but that’s just the number of players on the field at any given time. If you want to join with a few more friends, it’s always handy to have subs (or alternates if you don’t want to play the whole game).

Sign Up Here: Though there isn’t one centralized national website or organization for recreational flag football, if you Google “flag football” and your city, you’re likely to find several resources.


What it is: It’s somewhat of a middle ground between what you played in elementary school gym class, and the Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn movie. Basically: You face the opposing team across a gym and systematically work on knocking out each member with a ball about the size of a volleyball (just not as hard as one). Typically, anywhere from three to 10 balls are used in each game, and they are all lined up in the center of the gym when the game starts. When the whistle blows, it’s an all-out race to grab those balls and start throwing. If you’ve seen the movie, you know it’s not necessarily over when you get hit with a ball: A team member can bring you back in by catching one of the opposing team’s throws.

Number of people on a team: Standard games are typically anywhere from 6-on-6 to 8-on-8.

Sign up here: You can start by checking out the National Dodgeball League or the National Amateur Dodgeball Association websites. If you can’t find a league there, try searching “dodgeball” and your city on Google.


What it is: That game you used to play at birthday parties, or the one your mom used to play with her buddies once a week. The once retro activity is becoming more and more trendy (hello, Lucky Strike), and bowling leagues are an awesome way to play a sport without exerting yourself too much.

Number of people on a team: Each bowling team is made up of four people.

Sign up here: While there are some national and professional bowling associations, if you’re looking for something more casual, simply search online for bowling leagues in your city and choose one that suits you best.


What it is: Think softball, but with a bigger target and less hand-eye coordination. Instead of hitting a small ball with a bat, you kick a larger ball with, well, your foot. Everything else is pretty much the same: You play on a diamond, run the bases once you kick the ball, and alternate batting and playing the field with each inning.

Number of people on a team: If you’re looking for a sport where you can bring more friends, this is it. Kickball teams are made up of 10 people each, but often can legally be played with fewer people than that.

Sign up here: Start your search with the World Adult Kickball Association.


What it is: A game of bumping, setting and spiking a ball back and forth — volleying, if you will — over a tall net. The game can be played indoors for those in colder climates (or for those who like having a solid floor beneath them), or on the beach for those who like to enjoy some sunshine and channel their inner Misty May-Treanor while competing.

Number of people on a team: Indoor volleyball teams consist of six people each, but beach volleyball can be played as teams of two, four or six. If you have more friends you want to include, rotating is easy with this one. Just rotate one person in and out each time your team gets to serve.

Sign up here: Because there are so many different professional and amateur volleyball organizations out there, it’s easiest to simply Google recreational volleyball leagues along with your city to find one to join.