Football or soccer is an active, contact (although some would debate) sport played by millions across the world. But why should you play? I might not be a betting man, but I would be very confident in saying that almost everybody knows at least one person who plays football. Why do people do it? What are the benefits of playing football?
This is going to be a long series of mini posts about the benefits of football and why you, your friends, your kids and anyone else you know should play the game. So, we are going to start off with the obvious. The physical benefits.
One of the most well documented pros of playing football is its positive impact on cardiovascular health. A good level of cardiovascular health or cardiorespiratory health is linked to a lower risk of developing serious health issues. It lowers the risk of certain cancers, heart attack, cholesterol related problems, stroke and type 2 diabetes. So, having good cardiovascular health is very important.
Now, how does football achieve better cardiovascular health? Running, and lots of it. At professional level players travel on average 10km per game. This 10km is not at the same pace throughout. It involves a combination of running, sprinting, walking, jumping and even running backwards. It is because of this that football is a full body workout not only because it uses all the muscles in the body but because it also uses all 3 energy systems. It is as a result of all this that forces the body to adapt OVERTIME. If you play 1 soccer game and think you will never get diabetes in your life then you are wrong, but over a whole season that usually lasts about half a year, then yes you would see a marked increase in your cardio fitness that would then relate to a decrease in the issues above. PROVIDED YOU BACK IT UP WITH A GOOD DIET. Fact, if you eat more calories than you burn you will put on weight and still be at risk.
But what about my kids? Surely, they would not be at risk of those? Sort of, they are not at risk now but its in the future that they will have problems. And today it is even easier for them to be totally inactive and just sit-down to get entertainment with all the available gaming devices, streaming services and online social networking. By playing football however they can reduce the risks associated with being inactive and achieve the same benefits as an adult would in terms of better cardiovascular health.
That is post number one in what will be a very long series on the benefits of football, next post I will be rambling on about footballs effect on body fat and muscles.