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Every sport has unique benefits, and soccer is no exception. It’s more than just a great cardio workout with balance and foot-eye coordination exercises. It also has many additional benefits that you might be unaware of. Football naturally has a semi-circuit setup with bouts of walking, running and jogging which helps keep the body guessing (and the metabolism high).
While running can be hard on the knees, it’s also a great way to build bone strength. Endurance is another important aspect of health that wanes as people age. While you might not be listing your football league on a federal resume, it’s still an important part of your life.
Check out these surprising health benefits your favorite sport is giving you.
Tight in the Right Places
The combination of sheer cardio and strength training can lower body fat and increase muscle tone. This lowers your risk for a host of diseases including diabetes and heart attacks. Cardiovascular health is a biggie, as heart disease is the leading killer in America. The best way to beat it is with regular cardio exercise.
You know that you’re unlikely to stick with a cardio routine that you don’t like. Football mixes things up, and there’s an end in sight (unlike epic runs on the treadmill). It’s also best to run outside whenever possible for more resistance with wind and natural differences in fields.
Many football players, even on intramural teams, also practice regular strengthening and stretching.
Running, lifting and using elliptical machines might be great exercises. However, they’re also solitary and do nothing to improve your social health. Football is a team sport, and gives you an opportunity to meet people, engage and build a community. This can help with depression and anxiety.
You likely have different friends for different aspects of your life. Having a group that loves the same sport helps give you a community. It’s a great way to find a sense of belonging when you move. It also gives you the opportunity to share your passion with your children.
Prepping for Old Age
Soccer improves coordination, which can get shaky as people age. Of course, it also helps to get you outside. Gyms can be great, but there’s no replacement for the fresh air. Building healthy routines now can help cement the foundation for an active life in middle age and beyond. It’s much easier to get into the habit now than to try and pick up a new activity when you’re older.
There are many health benefits to football, and it’s important to keep them in mind the next time you head to the field. Is there something more you can do to improve your game and your health? Maybe you can lead the team in adopting new (or additional) strengthening exercises before or after practice.
It’s your game, and your health, so play it wisely.
Written by Michael Deaven
Follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelCDeaven
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