Top 11 Health Benefits of Playing Soccer

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

What are the health benefits of soccer? The beautiful game is not only the most popular sport in the world, because anybody can play anytime and anywhere since it requires very little equipment, but it is also a team sport with a ton of physical, mental, and social benefits.

I am sure you have seen youth soccer players on local fields chasing after balls with determination in their eyes. Or maybe adults playing pickup games in parks. Or maybe even seen a professional game live – but have you ever stopped to think why?

The answer lies in the passion that these players have for the game as well as the numerous benefits of playing soccer, which is what I will be going over today.

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Improves Cardiovascular Health

Soccer is a great form of physical exercise that requires a lot of sprinting, jogging, and walking. On average, a soccer player will run around 5 to 7 miles a game which is no wonder why soccer is a good sport to improve cardiovascular health.

Soccer will help strengthen your heart which will help decrease your heart rate and reduce blood pressure.

Increases Aerobic Capacity

A full length soccer game lasts 90 minutes and requires a high level of stamina. Soccer is not a sport that requires a lot of continuous running, but it does require a lot of sprinting and quick changes of direction.

For the general population, playing soccer is a great sport and form of aerobic exercise to increase aerobic capacity and maximal oxygen intake while having fun, instead of trying to build your aerobic capacity by doing boring exercises such as running on a treadmill.

Increases Cognitive Brain Function

Soccer is a fast paced game that requires a lot of focus, critical thinking, and decision making. Not only do you need to be able to stay focused for 90 minutes, but you also need to be able to come up with solutions to new scenarios on the fly and use your creativity and problem solving skills.

Improves Confidence and Self-Discipline

To get better at soccer, and to get better at anything in life, you need to develop confidence, self esteem, and discipline. Soccer is a great way to teach people how to develop self-discipline because it takes discipline and determination to wake up everyday and do the right things to improve as a player.

Doing the right things means training smart, not just hard, recovering properly, getting enough sleep, eating the right foods, staying hydrated, and of course doing any other extra work you need to to get to your desired level.

Lowers Body Fat and Improves Muscle Tone

Regular physical activity, such as playing soccer, is a great way to lower body fat and improve muscle tone. Soccer requires both fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers which helps with the fat burning and muscle building processes. Soccer also requires usage of both the aerobic and anaerobic pathways which can help burn more calories than other types of exercise.

Builds Fascia, bone, and Muscle Strength

Soccer is also a great sport to help build fascia strength, bone strength, and muscle strength since it is a full body exercise. Sprinting, kicking, twisting, turning, and shielding the soccer ball require all of the parts of your body to be working together, from fascia to bones to muscles to tendons and ligaments.

Even though a lot of the actions in soccer may seem like they only build lower body strength, the upper body is also involved and worked in all of those movements, which means soccer also helps build upper body strength, especially when you have to shield the ball from the opposing team.

Improves Total Body Coordination

Soccer players are some of the best movers and athletes in the world because the sport requires a huge amount of total body coordination. From being able to control the ball to passing it and shooting accurately as well as all of the changes of direction, soccer requires a huge amount of hand eye coordination as well as foot eye coordination.

Reduces Stress

A fascinating aspect of soccer lies in its ability to act as a potent antidote against everyday stresses and it can reduce anxiety. As players immerse themselves in running across the pitch or strategizing their next move, they experience an increase in endorphin levels – our body’s feel-good hormones.

This surge not only elevates mood but also fosters relaxation post-game. Basically, every time you step onto the field with your cleats laced up tight and ready for action, you’re signing yourself up for some happiness therapy.

Improves and Encourages Teamwork

Soccer is the most popular sport out of all team sports and it promotes teamwork, communication, and comradery. Not only do players get to have fun and get in shape, but they also get to work with their teammates to reach common goals.

Allows you to Network with Other Players

Playing soccer and finding new leagues and tournaments is also a great way to network and meet other players, coaches, and fans involved with the sport. Often times, your network and who you know can play a huge role in the type of opportunities that you get, which is why it is important to meet as many people in the world of soccer as possible.

Helps Connect You With Nature

Finally, playing soccer helps you reconnect with nature. Although there are indoor versions of the game, the outdoor version played on grass and under the sun is a great way to reconnect with nature and spend fun time outside. Boeing in nature can have a ton of benefits such as alleviating stress and improving mitochondrial function.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of playing soccer barefoot?

Playing soccer barefoot has a ton of benefits such as

What correct protective equipment do you need to play soccer?

The most important protective equipment for soccer are the right type of cleats, shin guards, and an ankle brace or headband if you absolutely need it due to any recent injuries.

What are the benefits of playing other sports for young soccer players?

As a youth soccer player, it is very important to play other sports such as American football, baseball, tennis, ping pong, or anything else and not specialize in soccer only to improve your overall athletic abilities.

Conclusion

In conclusion, playing soccer has many benefits for all skill levels, however simply watching the game won’t give you any of the benefits. To really get the benefits of this aerobic activity, players have to participate in this sport regularly as well as in other forms of the game such as futsal, beach soccer, soccer tennis, or soccer ping pong.

In this blog I went over all of the main health benefits of playing competitive or recreational soccer for beginner players or elite players facing other elite players.

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