We are all aware of the importance of regular physical activity for our children’s future physical development. And not only physical. Various sports teach kids things like fair play and importance of teamwork they do not have too much opportunity to experience outside the field. Still, the question remains “Which sport offers the most benefits?” and the answer is not that easy to find because every one of them offers distinct benefits. Here, we will take a look at the things that make soccer one of the most obvious choices, though.
Soccer is a very physically demanding sport. Unlike some other popular alternatives, like for example football, soccer is a game of constant motion (Average soccer player runs 7-9.5 miles throughout the game). This relentless tempo can lead to tremendous cardiovascular benefits. Recent research conducted in Denmark (2012) indicates that soccer is more efficient in dealing with hypertension amongst middle-aged men, than the usual care provided by GP. Participants also experienced increased oxygen intake and improved resting heart rate. Introducing your kid to this sport from the early ages can cut the possibility of developing heart-related medical conditions in its root.
Soccer Improves Heart Rate of Children with Type 2 Diabetes
All these things should be taken into even stronger consideration if your kid is suffering from type 2 diabetes. The proofs, once again, come from Denmark. According to Jakob Friis Schmidt, co-author of study investigating the effects of soccer on 21 participants with type 2 diabetes, soccer training drastically improved participants’ heart flexibility. As a result their hearts were able to work 29% faster and regulate their blood sugar levels much easier. What makes this argument even more compelling is the fact that soccer features very little body contact, so if equipped with the proper soccer training equipment your kid will be safe from potential injuries.
Other Health Benefits
Of course, benefits of playing soccer are not only related to improved heart health. Here are some of the other perks:
- Improved stamina. Running almost entirely without a break for 90 minutes requires a very high level of stamina. Frequent engagement in soccer games will help your child achieve this important physical feat.
- Improved muscle tone. Although it is played entirely by foot, soccer requires a range of motions that work out a wide variety of muscles. Over the extended period of time such kind of physical engagement leads to improved muscle mass, lower body fat percentage, and an overall leaner look.
- Stronger bones. The extensive physical activity we mentioned above does not affect only children’s muscle strength. Their bones, whose density otherwise decreases over the years, will remain healthy and strong.
- Better coordination and cognitive functions. Although it may look somewhat stale from time to time, soccer is a sport that requires a lot of concentration. Constantly switching between running and sprinting, making rapid decisions on passing and shooting, and a myriad of other things that happen on the field will force your kid to develop a very sharp mind and very quick reflexes.
Last but not the least, unlike football that is played out in a series of agreed motions and basketball that heavily relies on individuality, soccer requires full coordination and the squad that lives and breathes as one person. Playing in such environment will help your kid to learn numerous things about the interpersonal relationships and functioning within a team. Also, during the corner kicks and free kicks, even the players that don’t see too much of the opponents’ goal have an opportunity to score, which can do wonders for your kid’s self-confidence.
In this age when the kids are becoming more sedentary with each passing day, it is important to find the activity that can benefit their health and fitness. If it includes other perks like improved self-confidence and social skills – even better.