SOUND MIND, SOUND BODY: Volleyball opens door to fitness and fun

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We've all heard that the recommended amount of aerobic exercise needed to maintain our current weight is about 30 minutes per day, five days a week.

Automatically, your mind probably flashed to the treadmill or the dreaded gym, correct? Why not disguise aerobic activity into something fun?

Volleyball is a sport that is not only fun but beneficial to your health. It's a sport almost anyone can play and you don't have to own spandex (did I just hear a sigh of relief?).

All age groups can participate. It does not matter if you're a novice player, a professional or an 8-year-old.

All you need is a partner and a volleyball to pass back-and-forth or you find a group of people who want to participate in a full game. The opportunities are endless when you want to get-out-there and play.

A volleyball match is best three out of five games. Each game in a match is to 25 points, except for the fifth game, which is to 15. Points are tracked by rally score. The goal is to keep the ball alive on your side of the net, by not letting it touch the ground, similar to the childhood game of hot potato.

Each point begins with a server putting the ball in motion, which should theoretically lead to a "volley," or hitting the ball back and forth between teams. Every time one of the teams wins a serve from the opposing side, they rotate clockwise.

The team who gets to 25 points first wins the game. The teams would then switch sides and play again until the match is complete.

Playing volleyball is a great form of aerobic exercise because it targets just about every muscle in the body and it incorporates short sprints during "volleys." If one plays hard enough, you can easily maintain your personal target heart rate, which leads to healthy living.

There are many great opportunities to play volleyball. Your backyard, the park, the gym: Just go out and play! If you're looking for real competition, look for grass or beach doubles tournaments in the area.

More information can be found at the YMCA. The next local tournament will be June 30-July 1. Registration is available at the front desk at the Walla Walla YMCA.

Sara Todorovich was born and raised in the Walla Walla Valley. She went to Arizona State University then Eastern Washington University on full volleyball scholarships and is the new head volleyball coach at Walla Walla University. She is finishing her degree at Washington State University and plans to complete her master's of education at Walla Walla University.

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