Top 10 Physical Benefits of Playing Soccer

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Playing soccer is a great way to stay physically active and healthy. Soccer players can stay physically active while also being able to relieve stress and anxiety. They can also work on their hand-eye coordination, which is only one of the top physical benefits of playing soccer for any child or adult to have.

​Top 10 Physical Benefits of Playing Soccer

Soccer is a fun and healthy game that can be played by anyone and at any age. It also has many mental benefits, such as relieving stress and anxiety and offers a great way for kids and adults to stay active. Let’s talk about the best physical benefits playing soccer can give you.

​1. Increases Aerobic Capacity

​It’s no secret that soccer is an aerobic sport. Players need to move around on the field, run, and play for 45 minutes—depending on the age group—before they get an official break.

To play and compete for that long of a period before you can 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.

A soccer player can travel between 5 and 7 miles in a single game. As a result of the aerobic fitness requirements of soccer, the heart pumps more blood into the muscles.

Woman in a teal number 8 jersey stands in the middle of the field for a soccer game

​2. Improves Cardiovascular Health and Reduces Blood Pressure

​Most physical sports, ranging from basketball to tennis to soccer, involve running. Sports that involve constant movement increase cardiovascular health, and soccer is at the top of that list.

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, reduce plaque build-up in the coronary arteries, lowers blood pressure, and 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 running to your arms to fend off players to your head to hit the ball.

All this movement helps you improve your muscle tone and burn fat while 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.

Man is preparing to kick the soccer ball in mid air

4. Builds Muscle Strength

​In general, soccer uses your entire body. Your lower body strength is engaged by:

Your upper body strength is engaged by:

  • shielding the ball
  • holding off opponents
  • throw-ins and running

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

​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. Soccer 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.

Playing soccer increases the strength of the skeletal frame, which will then help strengthen your bone density.

Soccer student is playing with the ball on grass

​6. Engages and Improves Coordination

​While playing soccer, you’re working on your body coordination when passing, dribbling, turning and being aware of your surroundings all at the same time. Soccer is also mentally engaging, requiring body-eye coordination and doing multiple things simultaneously.

You have to be able to dribble and shield the ball simultaneously, 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

​Soccer is a great aerobic activity. Endurance and stamina also play a huge role in the development of a soccer player. 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 that many skilled players honed over time.

Comparing Soccer Intensity to Other Sports

Sport Intensity Actions Required How Long
Soccer Very highSprints, tackles, and jumpsMore than 90 minutes
VolleyballHighSprints, jumps, and hitsMore than 60 minutes
BasketballHighSprints and jumpsMore than 48 minutes
FootballHighSprints and tacklesMore than 60 minutes

​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 valuable defender, you have to already be getting ready to go to the opposite side of the court.

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

​Like 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.

Woman wearing black Nike shoes doing knee high exercises in the sand

​10. Improved Joint Flexibility and Range of Motion

​Joint flexibility and range of motion are great for injury prevention for both young and old alike. Being flexible no matter your age is essential in reducing the risk of injury and living an overall healthy life. Having a healthy range of motion can help you stay fit.

Related Questions

Here are some related questions about the benefits of soccer.

What Are the Social Benefits of Playing Soccer?

Since it is a team sport, soccer can help you meet new people and create new friendships. This will allow you to have a healthier social life. Also, it can help you to communicate better.

Since you will have to communicate with your teammates during a game, this will help you develop your speaking abilities.

What Are the Physical and Mental Demands of Playing Soccer?

Playing soccer can be very demanding, both mentally and physically. This is because you will need to train and exercise daily, which can be tough for your body.

This means that your muscles might ache constantly. Also, if you want to pursue a professional career, you must be mentally prepared for tough losses, provocations, and rejections.

What Are the Mental Benefits of Playing Soccer?

Playing soccer can physically improve your mood. This is due to the endorphins (chemicals inside of your brain that reduce stress and improves concentration).

​Conclusion

​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 improve your health.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.