Posted on 07/02/2019 at 09:13 AM by YMCA of Greater Des Moines
Have you caught World Cup Fever? Don't just watch from the couch—get in the game and reap the benefits!
It’s no secret that soccer is an aerobic sport. Players are required to move around on the field, run, and play for up to 45 minutes before they get an official break.
Sports that involve constant movement increase cardiovascular health, and soccer is at the top of that list. Adult-aged soccer players run an average of 5-7 miles in every single game! The constant movement in soccer will strengthen the heart, which will then resist plaque build-up in the coronary arteries and overall reduce blood pressure.
While you can’t use your hands to touch the soccer ball, the sport is most certainly a full-body activity. You’ll use your legs to run, your arms to fend off players and even your head to hit the ball. All this movement helps improve muscle tone and burn fat, especially if done in the summer heat.
Your lower body strength is engaged by kicking, jumping, tackling, twisting, turning, passing the soccer ball and gaining speed while playing. Your upper body strength is engaged by shielding the ball, holding off opponents, throw-ins and running, power, and explosiveness.
During soccer, the body engages in repeated weight-bearing loads on the body that strengthen the skeletal frame. This helps increase bone strength, which is important because bone density decreases as you age.
Not only are you working on the coordination of your body when passing, dribbling and turning, you also have to be mentally engaged constantly. You have to dribble and shield the ball at the same time, shoot and stay on your feet while getting pushed down, receive a pass and look around you to see if you can turn.
Endurance and stamina play a huge role in the development of a soccer player. Players have to develop the ability to last on a field physically and mentally for long periods of time—especially if you are running low on subs!
Being able to read plays and then act—not just react—plays a huge role in the game of soccer. You have to have great reflexes and an agile body to be able to react just as swiftly as your mind does—and sometimes even faster than it.
Soccer is a great sport to relieve stress through physical exertion, releasing those chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. It strengthens the immune system, which will help you fight off sickness.
What benefits of soccer would you add to this list?
What’s your favorite part of the game?