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  • Isabelle Nichol

The Benefits of Soccer on Corporal Health

Updated: Oct 14, 2023

By: Isabelle Nichol, Contributing Writer

Edited by: Elias Azizi, Editor in Chief


With the rise of technology usage, and the increase in online hobbies and activities, a large portion of adults and teens alike aren’t reaching their weekly quota of exercise. However, there are many different ways for individuals to exercise consistently enough, team sports being one of them. Depending on the individual’s comfort with other people, and their desire to engage collaboratively, team sports can be a great choice for a person to reach their desired amount of exercise.

The region, climate, and season may affect the sports being played, but there are many options worldwide; to name a few popular ones, hockey, basketball, baseball, football, and the topic of this article, soccer. Soccer is one of the most popular sports worldwide. Millions of people across the globe tune in for each FIFA World Cup to cheer on their country of choice. This level of interest would indicate a similarly large interest in playing the sport as well, instead of simply watching.

Team sports can have amazing effects on one’s physical and mental health, and soccer is no exception. Many experts cite the claim that soccer is a combination of various types of exercises. It has positive benefits for the cardiovascular system, muscular system, and respiratory system. One of the recommendations from the CDC is 75 minutes weekly of “vigorous-intensity aerobic activity” with the addition of “muscle strengthening activities” twice a week. Soccer would certainly fit into this recommendation, with each game lasting 90 minutes. Often teams with higher commitment levels will also include separate practices once or twice a week to aid players in improving their skills and team strategies. These practices could also fit into the recommendation of “muscle strengthening activities” twice weekly.

As far as the cardiovascular system goes, players run an average of 2-3 miles per game, since the average player is changing positions frequently enough, to either score on the opposing team, or to prevent the other team from scoring. Often, players aren’t constantly sprinting; it’s a combination of walking, jogging, and sprinting. This combination can also prove to be less intimidating than sprinting by itself, without any lighter exercise to balance it out. Any form of exercise which raises the heart rate of an individual above their average seated or standing heart rate is beneficial to the cardiovascular system.

Due to the nature of the sport, soccer can also help to strengthen a player’s muscles and improve muscle tone. The repetitive movements can aid in developing muscles that aren’t frequently used in day-to-day life by the average person. To give an example, kicking a ball a great distance is a common movement in soccer that can train certain muscles. The average person wouldn’t be using the muscle group involved in this action often in their average day, especially not with much strength involved. Another example could be participating in throw-ins. Similarly to kicking or shooting a ball, this motion activates certain muscles that are not usually activated during the standard workday. Most of the upper torso is stretched and somehow used during this movement, proving itself to be quite effective for strengthening one’s muscular system. Another benefit for the muscular system could be an increase in flexibility. Similarly to the strengthening of the muscular system through repetition, an individual’s flexibility can be improved through consistent stretching and exercises which focus on the muscle groups in question. A comparison that can be made is learning any other skill. To give an example, when learning a new language, which method would be more effective: consistently learning for an hour a week through several weeks or working feverishly to catch up for 3 months of learning in 1 evening. The consistent schedule, right? Your muscles are no different, they require consistent small efforts to slowly stretch over time instead of intense workouts every once in a while in an attempt to make up for the lost time. A benefit of team sports would be the schedule involved, as it forces individuals to keep a routine that incorporates some physical exercise rather than neglecting it if they’re unable to hold themselves accountable.

The other system mentioned above that soccer can benefit would be the respiratory system. Since the sport improves aerobic endurance, lung capacity is also involved. Aerobic endurance is dependent on a couple of factors, maximal oxygen intake being one of the most important among them. However, when fatigued, the respiratory system is prone to having a lack of oxygen to distribute to the muscular system, leading to poor performance. Luckily, through training, the respiratory system can improve its oxygen distribution to the rest of the body’s systems. Some players have gone as far as to specifically train their diaphragms to aid the respiratory system when they have to perform at high levels.

It is worth noting, however, that on some rare occasions, sports may be harmful to the players involved. The main risks associated with soccer are injuries. Most injuries can be avoided though by stretching sufficiently before a game or practice. Another way to avoid injuries is wearing the correct protective equipment such as shinpads.

To conclude, exercise should be a priority for any individual. The goal in mind is to keep a consistent routine that incorporates it, and most importantly, the activity being done is something that the person enjoys doing. One of these possible activities is soccer. Many qualified individuals have done studies and research to reach the conclusion that soccer is incredibly beneficial for individuals participating, and it’s highly encouraged.








Sources:

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Players Facing off in the World Cup.” Www.heart.org, 24 Jan. 2023,

https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/07/13/the-health-benefits-of-soccer-arent-just-for-

elite-players-facing-off-in-the-world-cup.

Department of Health & Human Services. “Soccer - Health Benefits.” Better Health Channel,

Department of Health & Human Services, 3 Oct. 2008,

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/soccer-health-benefits#bhc-

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“How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 June 2022,

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%20for%20Americans.&text=We%20know%20150%20minutes%20of,do%20it%2

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Mackała, Krzysztof, et al. “The Effect of Respiratory Muscle Training on the Pulmonary

Function, Lung Ventilation, and Endurance Performance of Young Soccer Players.”

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, U.S. National Library of

Medicine, 28 Dec. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6981841/.

O'Kray, Courtney. “Top 10 Benefits of Playing Soccer.” Glen Ellyn Park District, 16 Nov. 2022,

https://gepark.org/2018/12/top-10-benefits-of-playing-soccer/.







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