As is the case with any aerobically focused sport, the health benefits of soccer are numerous.
So Much Running
One of the most significant ones is related to how much running takes place during matches. For example, professional players run an average of 7 miles every match. That in and of itself is significant and ensures that those who have trained to run that much on a regular basis are in outstanding physical shape.
Another running-related point to consider is how continuous and fluid this sport is, which builds so much endurance. In many other sports, breaks are commonplace. This is true for football, basketball and hockey and is especially true for baseball. However, for professional soccer players, at least eight of the 11 who are on the field at the start will play the entire 90 minutes with only a 15-minute break for halftime. Of course, they’re not running that entire time, but they are constantly on their feet, interspersing standing and walking with sprinting.
Other Physical Benefits
But it’s not just cardiovascular strength that’s essential. Players need to have solid upper-body strength to get into position and to push others out of position.
This is also a sport that rewards agility and flexibility, which are just as important as the aerobic elements of the sport and which help cause soccer players to experience well-rounded health benefits.
Soccer has really gotten to be a cerebral game, and understanding those nuances are so important to a player’s success as well as their team’s success. As a result, players get to give their minds a workout too during matches as they help create the best scoring chances and limit their opponent’s opportunities.
Learning how to react so quickly to changing, unpredictable circumstances and time-limited opportunities for success help players’ minds adapt and grow as well. So much of this sport involves narrow windows of opportunity, and players need to know what to do when they occur. A scoring opportunity could open quite unexpectedly, and it’ll likely close milliseconds after it opened. Knowing what to do in that narrow amount of time is something that is ultimately learned to the point that it’s instinctual, which comprises another of the health benefits of soccer.
An additional health benefit of soccer is related to working within the team setting that this sport encompasses. Not only do players need to overcome obstacles individually throughout a match, but they must also do their best to help their team perform as positively as possible as far as team-focused obstacles go. Specifically, in what ways can each player help a team score a goal and keep the opponent from doing the same?
As a result of taking advantage of these benefits, soccer players get to enjoy reduced blood pressure thanks to how strong their hearts have become. All of the cardiovascular activity that the sport involves also lowers players’ body fat, improves their muscle tone and increases the strength of their bones. Additionally, they experience strengthened immune systems, reducing the likelihood that they’ll contract diseases.
Taking part in a sport such as soccer also tends to reduce stress levels for participants as physical exertion causes the body to release chemicals that serve as natural mood boosters.