Whether you’ve caught World Cup Fever and are going to sign up for an adult league there are so many benefits you’re also signing up for—and it’s not just teamwork and a disciplined mindset.
In physical aspects alone, soccer has so many. Here are ten of the tons of physical benefits that you can reap from the sport.
Top 10 Physical Benefits
1. Increases Aerobic Capacity
It’s no secret that soccer is an aerobic sport. Players are required to move around on the field, run, and play for 45 minutes—depending on the age group—before they get an official break.
To be able to play and compete for that long of a period of time before you are able to stop requires a great deal of aerobic capacity. Players have to be able to go from walking to running to springing and must recover fully until they have to do it again—and again.
2. Improves Cardiovascular Health and Reduces Blood Pressure
Most physical sports, ranging from basketball to tennis to soccer, involve some form of running. 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!
All of these different paced movements do wonders for the heart, providing healthy cardiovascular exercise for the body. This takes care of the weekly exercise that a doctor will often mandate or suggest to their patients to stay healthy.
The constant movement in the sport will strengthen the heart, which will then resist plaque build-up in the coronary arteries, and overall reduce blood pressure. Playing soccer keeps your heart and blood vessels healthy in general, which helps prevent hypertension.
3. Lowers Body Fat and Improves Muscle Tone
While you can’t use your hands to touch the soccer ball, the sport is most certainly a full-body activity. You use your entire body to play soccer, ranging from your legs to run to your arms to fend off players.
All this movement helps you improve your muscle tone and burn fat while you’re out on the field. The coordination of all of the moving body parts, working together to execute at the same time, greatly improves your muscle tone and coordination.
Soccer is a sport where it engages both your slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers, which is great for developing an overall strong body and muscle tone. The sport also has its players switching between using their aerobic and anaerobic energy pathways, which kickstarts fat burning.
4. Builds Muscle Strength
In general, as mentioned above, soccer uses your entire body. Your lower body strength is engaged by kicking, jumping, tackling, twisting, turning, passing the 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.
Normally, especially if a team or a player is a serious competitor, they will usually incorporate muscle strengthening into their workout, which will help them be better players, overall.
5. Increases Bone Strength
Not only are you building strength in your muscles, you’re also going to be building strength in your bones. Especially as you age, your bone density will tend to decrease. That’s why it’s important to engage in exercise, even as you grow older. Sport is a great sport to play well into your adult years.
Of course, as you grow older, you can also set boundaries in the tackles you get into or the amount of physical contact you engage in—to stay as safe as possible from injury.
During soccer, the body engages in repeated weight-bearing loads on the body which can tap into increasing the strength of the skeletal frame, which will then help strengthen your bone density. Overall, of course, staying fit by means of playing soccer can help you stay physically healthy, in general.
6. Engages and Improves Coordination
Not only are you working on the coordination of your body when passing, dribbling, turning, and being aware of your surroundings all at the same time, it’s also a very mentally engaging sport, requiring body-eye coordination and also doing multiple things, all at once.
You have to be able 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. The more coordination you have throughout your body and in touch with the mental aspect of it, the better you will be able to play.
7. Increases Stamina and Endurance
As we mentioned before, soccer is a great aerobic activity. Endurance and stamina also play a huge role in the development of a soccer player. They have to develop the ability to last that long on a field, not only physically but mentally, as well.
Although you can argue that running alone is a great physical activity to develop stamina and endurance, soccer takes a great deal of mental capacity, also. That means that soccer taps into the physical and mental stamina and endurance.
8. Increase Reflex and Agility
Soccer is not a sport where one thing happens at a time, you have to be able to react to any given movement or moment—sometimes even long before that happens. Let’s say you notice a player about to switch the point of attack (kick it to the other side of the field), as a defender, you have to already be getting ready to go to the opposite side of the field.
Being able to read plays and then act—not just react, also plays a huge role in the game. 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.
9. Relieves Stress
Just like with any other physical activity, soccer is a great sport to relieve stress through physical exertion, releasing those chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. It is also a mood-booster, and strengthens the immune system, which will help you fight off sickness.
10. Improved Joint Flexibility and Range of Motion
Not only is that great for injury prevention, it doubles as a positive benefit for both young and old, alike. Being flexible, no matter what age you are is essential in reducing the risk of injury and living an overall healthy life. Having a healthy range of motion can definitely help you stay fit.
Soccer is loaded with physical—as well as mental and life-changing benefits that can add positivity to your life and your body. The physical aspect of soccer is a huge part of it and tapping into it will definitely improve your health.