There is no questioning the popularity of soccer—it is clearly the most popular sport on Earth. According to FIFA, 265 million people worldwide are involved in the sport, which represents 4% of the world’s population.
There are many reasons why people play sports and more often than not, Health Benefits tops the list. We all know that vigorous physical activity is good for us, but exactly how does soccer improve our bodies and well-being?
Almost everyone on a soccer team is constantly on the move thanks to the constant mix between jogging, sprinting and all-out running. A typical player runs anywhere from 7-9.5 miles per game. All that exercise increases heart strength, reducing the likelihood of plaque buildup.
Soccer also increases your aerobic capability, making you able to indulge in vigorous activity for longer periods of time before running out of energy. Increased stamina is a wonderful asset in all aspects of your life.
2. Coordination and Brain Function
Anyone who has played it will tell you there is more to soccer than just chasing a ball around. Yes, there is running, but it is rarely ever in a straight line: you need superior coordination to zigzag your way through a gauntlet of opponents. Although you are mostly moving the ball with your feet, hand-eye coordination also improves through soccer.
The constant change in pace and need to keep your eye on the ball means that players are concentrating intently and making fast decisions throughout. These help to exercise your mental muscle.
3. Mental Health
One of the first things a therapist will ask a person experiencing depression is, “How often do you exercise?” Physical activity increases production of endorphins, the “feel good” brain chemicals that heighten our mood.
Regular physical activity also helps stay in shape and look fit. If you feel proud of your appearance, you will also be more confident and feel better about yourself. Stress levels also decrease in the process.
You can also develop a real sense of comradery with your fellow players that extends beyond your time on the field. Friendships counteract the loneliness that often accompanies depression and/or anxiety.
4. Muscle and Bone Strength
When most people think about building their muscles, they usually head for the weight room at the gym. Soccer is not the choice of bodybuilders, but it is nonetheless wonderful at helping you develop and build muscles.
All of the running and kicking in a typical game inevitably helps strengthen leg muscles. However, it is not just your lower half that benefits. Your upper body also gains strength by holding off opponents and executing effective throw-ins.
Under all of that active muscle, your skeletal structure also feels the benefit of this excellent workout. That is particularly useful for older players as bone density naturally decreases with age.
5. Reduces Body Fat
Carrying around extra fat on your body can be a real drag on your heart. It has to work harder to support that extra weight and may become damaged as a result. Excessive body fat can also lead to Type 2 Diabetes, especially if you are carrying it around your middle.
The rigorous exercise one gains from a soccer game burns calories. When coupled with a proper diet, your percentage of body fat will stay at safe levels.
Soccer is a great sport for overall health! Whether it’s outdoors or indoor soccer, the sport is a marvelous way to keep fit. Try it out for yourself at inside a Farley soccer bubble.