Football or Soccer - Whatever Name, it's a Fun Way to Spend Time
As the saying goes - What's in a name? Whether you call it soccer like the Americans do or refer to it as football it offers the same untold health benefits and is a fun-filled sport for all ages. It is most popular in Europe and South American countries and is in fact the national sport of Brazil.
The sport can be played with twenty two players in any open space of any age or skill level.
What better time to begin than now with the FIFA World Cup Football in Russia going on in full swing. Get a ball and kick off to a fit and healthy start
Improves Heart Health and Aerobic Capacity
A game of soccer involves being in constant motion for 90 minutes. Did you know on an average a player moves at least 5 miles during a full game of soccer?
Playing soccer regularly helps build strength and stamina and greatly improves exercise capacity and heart health. The constant exercise increases heart rate and its heart health benefits include reducing plaque buildup within blood vessels in the heart, preventing coronary artery disease and reducing heart attack risk.
Building Stronger Muscles While Burning Fat and Calories
The kicking, tackling, twisting and turning as well as constantly moving all over the field throughout the game helps to build lower body strength. Upper body, back and core strength improve while trying to shield the ball, heading the ball, throw-ins, and holding off opponents.
As a result, overall muscle tone and strength becomes better and muscle mass increases at the expense of fat. Soccer burns more fat by bringing into play both slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers. It burns more calories than typical workouts as players constantly switch between using aerobic (brisk breathing in and out of oxygen) and anaerobic (an exercise that gets you out of breath faster) pathways for energy production.
Healthier and Stronger Bones
Bone mineral density decreases as people age. During a football match the repeated weight bearing loads on different parts of the body are an ideal way to increase the skeletal strength. It is a great way to keep bones healthy and strong.
In a Danish study, it was found that women playing soccer improved their bone density by 2 to 3 percent, which is the equivalent of reversing three to six years of bone loss.
Smoother and Better Coordination of Movements
During a soccer game there is constant switch between walking, running and sprinting, which involves coordination and constant adaptation. Thus coordination of body movements is improved through the complex movements like turning, dribbling and passing, which have to be performed at different speeds and directions as required. Hand-eye coordination is greatly improved when players receive a ball from another player or aim and kick the ball at a specific target.
Playing soccer regularly improves motor skills or body movements involving muscles and helps the person with balanced and effective interaction of the movements.
Improves Concentration and Brain Function
Football is a fast-paced game and involves constant thinking while on the run and thus concentration and brain function are necessary and will improve with regular playing. On-the-spot decisions have to be made for passing the ball, where to position oneself to receive a pass and how to dodge players trying to wrest the ball from you.
In the process the brain becomes wired to be quick and make fast decisions and react appropriately even off the field. Playing football makes a person mentally more alert and tuned to any situation.
Confidence Building, Mood Enhancer and Reduces Anxiety
Any form of exercise including soccer stimulates the brain to release chemicals called endorphins that enhance the mood and induce a sense of well-being. Threshold for pain perception also increases, which means the person doesn't begin to feel pain easily. Endorphins are also known to reduce anxiety and depression.
At the same time, building physical strength and stamina boosts the players confidence both on and off the field. Confidence and improved self-esteem not only influence sports performance, but also translate into performance in school and work as well as handling friendships and relationships better.
Football Promotes Team Work and Spirit and Teaches Sharing
Football is a team sport and each player is assigned a specific role which he has to fulfil along with other players in an efficient and smooth manner for the common goal of winning. These lessons on field are invaluable to children and adults alike in real life when they have to work with others to finish a common task and share each other's difficulties during the completion of the task.
Good team spirit and sharing means building good and strong friendships and relationships that are some of the big stress busters.
Football Offers Relief from Stress and Boredom
Sport was meant as a form of recreation and leisure activity to both those who play it and those who watch it, and football is no exception to the rule. Studies have shown that people who play football worry less than those who don't play at all.
While playing football the mind is fully focussed on the game with no time to think about the stresses and downsides of life and makes the player forget all troubles for some time and enjoy life. In fact, the improved confidence and brain function that results from playing soccer may actually help in handling life stresses better.
Let Family Time Be Soccer Time
How better to bond with family or spend quality time than inviting them to play soccer. Do one step better and form a soccer team with your family members. A soccer player needs to be familiar with their teammates both on and off field. Soccer would offer a great opportunity for family members to spend more time off field as well and bond over a discussion about the next game.
It will even help iron out differences and smooth ruffled feathers. After all a happy family is a healthy family and why not do it through soccer?