With the FIFA World Cup heading to the Middle East for its next destination, soccer fever is bound to pitch in, and there’s no better time to pick up what some call ‘the beautiful game’. Not only is this sport extremely and universally fun and popular around the whole world, but it is also one of the best sports for promoting good health
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From playing games, practising with a few friends or just messing around with the ball on your own, soccer can benefit your health on so many levels. Not only is it good for losing weight, but it’s also great for your heart health, the cardiovascular system as well as building up your leg muscles along with your endurance and stamina.
Soccer is often known for its ability in making running fun and physical exercise fun, but soccer can also benefit your mental health. It’s a great way to blow off steam, make new friends, learn teamwork skills as well as encouraging smart tactics and quick thinking.
So no matter your age, gender or physical conditioning, its never too late to pick up soccer (also known as football in most other countries).
The Benefits of Playing Soccer
1. Lose or maintain weight
Soccer is fantastic for people looking to lose or maintain weight. It can be played at any intensity you like; therefore, you can focus on how many calories you are looking to burn.
If you’re playing to socialize with friends and getting a good workout, you can focus on your passing, dribbling, and shooting. If you’re playing with the aim to burn calories, high intensity sprinting and constant jogging can be added to your game.
Soccer can burn many calories as it requires running, kicking, jumping and tackling at any given time. This is perfect for burning fat as your body will never truly be at rest.
2. Build up endurance
Playing a proper game of soccer will require you to play from beginning to the end. Unlike jogging or walking the dog, it is a competition. Therefore you will have to see it out.
This will encourage and force you to keep on going even if you’re already tired. Over time you will build up endurance levels.
3. Develop stronger legs and body balance
Soccer relies heavily on your legs. As you’re not allowed to use your hands and only using your head on a minimal basis, your legs are practically doing all the work.
Playing often and with proper form will help your legs to grow stronger, develop strong calf muscles hamstrings and quadriceps.
4. Learn mind and body coordination
Soccer is just as much a tactical game as it is a physical one. There are many elements to consider mentally and physically, such as the people surrounding you as well as your positioning according to the ball.
By playing soccer enough, whether on your own or in a competitive game, your body will learn to connect with your mind. This will also improve your general reflex time and reactions.
This can be from following instructions than acting upon them or positioning your body according to the physics of the ball. This may also improve your ability to multitask and communicate with others.
5. Make new friends
One of the greatest benefits of playing soccer is making new friends and meeting new people. Some people may be shy, socially awkward or prefer not to communicate verbally.
Soccer helps you to meet with others and communicate with them in a physical avenue. This is a good way to break the ice for most people, particularly for young children.
Ways to Play Soccer
1. In a team
With the large popularity of soccer around the world and particularly in the UAE, there are many public teams you can join. There are teams for young children, students, and even adults.
By playing in a team, you can play a little more seriously than just kicking the ball with a couple of friends. This is also the best way to learn discipline and following instructions as the overall goal of playing in a team is to win as opposed to just having fun.
2. On Your Own
Soccer is great because all you need is a ball. Even if you don’t have anyone to play with, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy. Playing soccer on your own can mean practising your shooting, dribbling or even just running with the ball. Though you can call this practice, it can be quite fun and enjoyable while giving you a great workout.
3. Street Soccer
This is probably the most popular way to play soccer, especially for young students and children. This is the most convenient way to play as you need a large bit of space, a few friends and a ball.
This type of game doesn’t require strict rules; however, it can be competitive. Not only is it a good physical workout, but it is extremely fun and can be competitive. Just be careful of hazards such as oncoming traffic.
Futsal is a variation of soccer. The only difference is you play with lesser people per team, indoors with a smaller pitch as opposed to a full-size grass pitch. Even though the match time is shorter and the field is smaller, futsal is played at a higher intensity and can test your endurance.
Just like playing traditional soccer, futsal will require you to work as a team, follow instructions and to be competitive. The game of futsal is widely popular in the UAE, available to all age groups, and you can find a team to join that suits you.
Keep in Mind
Like all sports, it all comes down to preference. Some people may prefer other ball sports such as basketball or tennis while others may prefer cycling or swimming. But the point is, it’s never too late or too soon to try. Soccer is a great sport to adopt for most people.
However, if you have a certain health condition or physical disability, you may need to take extra precaution. Speak with your health care advisor before adopting any new exercising or physical activity program.
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