Falling somewhere between exercise and hanging out in a bar, social sports, such as bowling, kickball and cornhole, have so grown in esteem that social sport clubs are launching in many large cities. While such social sports are light on cardiovascular work, they serve an important social function and, with a little discipline, even can inch their way toward exercise.

The genius of social sports is they tend to be competitive, but not too competitive (the bowler who curses up a storm after failing to pick up the spare … no one likes him). They’re fun. They’re inclusive. Athletic can fairly play non-athletic, large can play small and weaker can play stronger.

John Pfau, program director for undergraduate physical activities at Penn State University, said interaction in social sports is good for you as well.

“We talk a lot about fitness in this culture, but what we’re talking about is wellness,” Pfau said. “These social games contribute to social well-being. They connect us to other people. One of the key factors to longevity is social support.”

But that does not mean they make us physically well. Social sports can be notoriously bad for us. Imagine bowling without pizza. Or cornhole without beer. Whitton, for one, can’t.

“Beer is very important to cornhole,” he said. “A can of beer in one hand keeps you balanced.”

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