We all known we need to exercise more but for many the idea of going to the gym to spend an hour running, but getting nowhere is a little too much to bare. However there are more fun ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a recent study shows that one of the best forms of exercise you can find is football. While most of us just sit in front of the telly to watch, it may be time to get out your football boots and get on the field.
Whether it is a game on a full size pitch, a five-a-side game or running through some skills and drills, playing football just twice a week can significantly improve your health. The study, that included 50 researchers from 7 countries, looked at the physical, psychological and even the social benefits of playing the ‘Beautiful Game’, and compared groups playing it with other forms of exercise and with inactive test groups.
The variation of movement performed by the body from running at varying speeds, sudden stops, tackling and passing was found to be very beneficial as it uses a wide range of muscle groups. The continual movement means that the pulse rate stays at a steady high rate throughout, making it a great cardio workout. The study also suggests that football practice may help with reducing arterial stiffness as a result of the improvement within the cardiovascular system.
The study was carried out in 2010 by academics from the University of Copenhagen. It also suggests that a few hours a week playing football can dramatically reduce overall body fat over a relatively short space of time and can help reduce blood pressure. According to the head of the study, Peter Krustrup;
“Our research shows that soccer is a versatile and intense form of exercise that provides a positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors in a large group of untrained adult men and women…..Based on the results, soccer can be recommended as part of the treatment for high blood pressure and as broad-spectre prevention of cardiovascular diseases.”
Even a small game like five-a-side can involve quite a few people so from a social point of view, football is great. It allows you to meet new people, bond with ones you already know and to explore the competitor we all have inside of us. How far you take it as a social tool is optional, for the more reserved people, it can be limited to a training and/or game play, but for those looking to get out and meet people, joining a local football team will lead to other activities after the game, often including a few beverages.
Added fitness, strength and a growing social network will also have psychological benefits as confidence levels in day to day life will likely rise. Playing twice a week will improve your life and your lifestyle, making football one of the best forms of exercise around.
Morgan is a football lover and enthousiast. He also has a personal blog related to afl tips and australian football league. He also loves exercise and playing football with his friends.