5 Super Springtime Sports

Spring is in the air, and bathing suit season is just a few months away. We've got five great spring sports for people of any age or experience level looking to get in shape. Just get outside and have fun.

Softball. Popular with men and women, young and old, it's estimated that 56 million Americans play softball every year. The Amateur Softball Association registers over 245,000 softball teams, comprising over 3.5 million players. Like baseball, it's one of America's national pastimes.

Why play? Softball is a great way to make friends and get some fun, gentle exercise. It provides upper-body toning with throwing and batting and cardiovascular exercise through running the bases.

Tennis. The season traditionally starts in the spring but can be played year 'round on indoor courts. You'll run, reach, squat, lunge and stretch throughout your game. A traditional match of singles or doubles is played over three or five sets that will keep your cardiac and respiratory rate elevated.

Consider joining a tennis club or association or take lessons through community colleges and parks and recreations programs. You'll find listings in your local directory or by going online to the US Tennis Association. 

Track and Field. These events include a wide range of running, jumping, hurdling, and throwing activities. This is the sport for the joggers looking for competition or runners ready to jump hurdles. Javelin throw, discus, high jump-these are just a few of the activities played on the track and athletic field. 

How do you sign up? Contact your local high school or community college for information about youth and adult community competitions, or log onto USA Track and Field Association to get started.

Soccer. Running, kicking, and teamwork are what this game's all about. Played both in fall and spring (and year 'round on indoor fields), soccer is fast-paced and a great way to make friends. Log on to Metro Adult Soccer or check out your local parks and recreation department for teams, clinics, and classes for all levels. 

Golf. Join approximately 28 million Americans who play golf annually. Played on a large, park-like course, golfers walk, swing, lug their clubs and hit the ball over nine or eighteen holes (depending on how long a game they want to play). The player who gets the ball into those holes with the fewest number of strokes wins. Log on to What Is Golf? for basic instructions, resources, and course locations.

For other spring sport ideas, try taking your indoor winter workout outdoors. If you've been running on a treadmill, try trail running or trade your rowing machine for a kayak.