by Keila Chaliotis, Staff Writer
Lately, our lifestyles have turned us into couch potatoes. How about kicking the couch and replacing it with some soccer time with friends, coworkers or new people? This activity can be done 3 times a week with good results.
Football, called soccer in USA, could have started from similar games traced back to Ancient Greece and China. The modern version, attributed to England has roots from the eight century. The modern, standardized game with written rules started in the middle of the nineteenth century, drawn at Cambridge University. Today, soccer is the most popular sport in the world, being played in almost every corner of the planet. Over 250 million people play it at a professional level and hundreds of millions more at an amateur and casual level.
It is generally seen as a team sport involving 11 players on each side but it can easily be played with as little as 1 player per side. No matter your age, size or your skillfulness, you can participate. It can be played in pretty much anywhere you can think of, beach, street, school, parking lot, garage, etc. What requirements do you need to play soccer? You will just need an opponent, a few objects to mark the goalies and the willingness to play the game. Shoes are recommended but not required. The best option will be tennis shoes when play in solid grounds and cleats when playing on grass or turf. Special clothes? Not necessary but for best results flexible, non-delicate clothes will do.
The sport is fun, besides beneficial for health as it requires the use of legs, head and torso to pass a ball and score goals. It does require some sprinting, running, walking and standing, which is great for cardiovascular health. The more you run the more aerobic capacity you get while lowering your body fat. Also, the more running you do, the more calories you burn. If you tend to quench your thirst with water only, this is a good sign as water has no calories. So doing the math, all is gain.
In fact, soccer can help reduce body fat. Most people who play soccer regularly tend to maintain their weight. Those who love to play soccer tend not to have a fat body. If a good, well balanced diet is kept, an ideal weight could even be reached and the risk of diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol can be reduced. Lots of calories are burned playing soccer since you do a lot of running/jogging with occasional sprinting and recovering walking. A good way to reduce a few pounds of weight is to play soccer. Many soccer players have attested to losing up to 6 pounds of weight in a single game while playing in tournaments.
Another benefit of playing soccer is that it helps tone, build and strengthen your muscles while building flexibility and endurance. It also increases bone strength. You increase your coordination as you have to learn to know your surroundings and teammates while dribbling the ball or running to get the ball passed to scored a goal or give another pass. This also helps you to multitask as you are running and thinking on what to do with the ball, if have the ball, or what action to take to help out the team.
Since this is a team sport is helps improve your teamwork abilities and sharing capabilities. At the end you think more on reaching the team goal, no pun intended, of scoring a goal while being able to defend from getting a goal on your net. As your endurance and skill improve you will become more confident and will increase your self-esteem.
Besides the health benefits, don’t forget the mental and social benefits it brings along. As long as you are playing for fun it is a good way to release stress. If you suffer from anxiety, this is a good way to reduce it. This is a healthy escape from stress. You get to meet new people or strengthen the bonds with those you already know. Hey, you may even meet the love of your life in the field or in the stands.
So get off that couch and kick it to the curb. Start playing soccer with your classmates or coworkers or join the school/company soccer team today. The benefits are endless and long- termed.