What Are The Physical Benefits Of Playing Soccer?

Soccer is the greatest and most popular sport across the world. From an early age, I always knew that even if I never made the grade as a player, I wanted to help youngsters play the game to the best of their abilities.

It turned out for me in my college days that there were so many gifted players around. I decided to concentrate on this noble calling of coaching as my contribution to the game.

Many Physical Benefits Of Playing Soccer

There are many physical benefits of playing soccer. Yet, through all the training courses to get where I am today, I never quite got around to one of the private promises I made to myself. I wanted to draw attention to these benefits, in addition to the obvious health benefits of playing soccer.

Soccer Skills And Moves Build Physique

Of course, I already knew from helping young players develop just how essential their attributes and skills were, such as overall muscle strength, quickness of many different moves, short sprinting bursts, and stamina to last 90-plus minutes on the pitch.

The right mental outlook and dedication to play a full part as a team player always seemed equally important. Yet we must respect and nurture the physical side of playing soccer to gain satisfaction and success.

My enquiring mind didn’t stop there. The more I delved into the features that make a good, proficient, or great soccer player, the more astonished I was. I had a lengthening list of positive attributes required.

So many of these factors emerged beyond those more obvious traits. I am now finding a little difficulty in where to start!

Physical, Mental, And Other Health Gains

Every aspiring soccer player needs to pay close attention to the many physical, well-being, health, and mental strength factors. They are vital for maximum performance, but if followed diligently, they will almost certainly improve any player’s game.

When we stand on the touchline at boys’ and girls’ games or sit shoulder-to-shoulder in the stadium for the big matches played by our favorite team, we can observe. So much hard graft goes into the performances of our idols out on the pitch.

The training sessions several times a week. The extreme big-game demands made on the muscles and sinews.

The sudden bursts of speed, the stamina to keep going, the discipline, courage, and sheer physical strength to withstand the knocks. Then players jump to their feet and carry on as normal.

What we experience as we watch is the quest for goals to win the game. The resilience and fortitude of our team to defend its net. The joy when our team scores or equally the dismay when a goal is conceded.

Hidden beneath all this action is the condition and fitness of the players. They turn up each week to put themselves through the paces demanded of their bodies and mental strength.

Human Body And Cardio System

So how does soccer provide great physical and mental benefits for the players? How should they understand what happens to their bodies? From all that training, playing, recovering from inevitable injuries, and preparing for the next match?

Let’s first look at the human body’s primary functioning regarding the cardiovascular system: the body’s ability to pump oxygenated blood around the body.

Consider aerobic and anaerobic exercise. In my college running days, nobody bothered to explain to me the difference! I had the stamina to run long-distance races. I never gave up. When I ran short of breath, I suffered the consequences. Thanks, guys!

Simply put, a distance runner is mostly running aerobically. A sprinter is flat-out anaerobic. Why should the sprinter need to care about this? The race will be over in a few seconds!

When you see one of your midfield stars sprint forward to join an attack, then hare back to defend a counter-attack, you know that his body must be tuned up. For whatever is demanded. Don’t forget the players are doing this continuously for 90 minutes-plus.

The players practice their ball control skills and team set-pieces in training, backed up by short and long-running bursts to build this crucial stamina and endurance.

All that training and playing has the desired effect of building muscle mass and increasing muscle strength. Something else happens as a side benefit. When the heart has to pump more and more blood around the body, calories and fat are burned, and weight is lost naturally.

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A Faster Rate Protects The Heart

Stats gathered by experts point to a player typically running the equivalent of ten to 15 kilometers in any match. That’s some going playing your part in a team game where you can be called upon at any instant.

What’s happening by increasing heart rate and function will have long-term benefits for soccer players. It protects them from chronic heart disease, now and in later life. Also, chemicals released in the brain will improve mental faculties, aiding relaxation.

As a lifelong runner, there’s something I have accepted. Soccer has greater physical benefits because players are continually stopping and starting.

Remember about aerobic and anaerobic running. The long runs down and across the pitch, followed by short bursts. Repeated time and time again during those 90 minutes-plus.

How does soccer build muscle and also strengthen your bones at the same time? Being forced into action can lead to oxygen debt. A soccer player then burns fat and builds muscle mass.

Playing Soccer Increases Bone Mass Density

Several muscles are involved in each action of sprinting, tackling, kicking, and turning. Over long periods muscles are bound to get strengthened.

Running for a full soccer match is known to increase bone mass density. Studies have also shown that jumping is even more beneficial.

Goalkeepers do far more jumping than most outfield players. However, defenders are often leaping up to head the ball clear.

What a great list of physical benefits of playing soccer. Of course, there is the argument that several other sports give the same or similar body and mind improvements.

Cycling, swimming, interval running on the track, where athletes alternately run, walk, sprint and jog. All great to build a fine physique and condition for the big day.

But for me, in my professional capacity, it’s soccer every time.

I believe I have made the case for soccer. There are also the social benefits of playing soccer from the team spirit forged amongst the players.

This is important for morale, especially when the team needs to bounce back from a defeat by working together.

The Overtime

Just to finish off on a lighter note for the future of ‘the beautiful game.’ We all know what a toddler does next after taking its first steps, don’t we? Yep, he or she kicks a ball!

As children grow older, they will learn new skills with the ball and reap the physical benefits of playing soccer.

James Cunningham
James Cunningham
James lives in Chicago with his wife and three daughters. Originally from the UK, soccer has allowed him to travel the world. Now a youth coach, he fully enjoys teaching others about the game that he loves so much. His favorite team is Manchester United.