Playing football for one hour, three times a week has been shown to have significant benefits to health and wellbeing. It has long been understood that physical activity helps to maintain fitness and wellbeing, combining this with having fun seems to be the best choice as it stops an activity becoming boring or tedious. It has now been scientifically proven that football helps in many ways.
A study carried out by Peter Krustrup of Copenhagen University studied the effects of recreational football on men aged between 20 and 43. Each person was told to play football for one hour, three times a week. Results of the program were compared to non-active men of the same demographic.
Results showed that the footballing group had received health benefits in the form of lower body fat, lower lipid levels or blood fats, increases in muscle mass and also a lower level of blood pressure.
What was particularly highlighted in the study was the fact that football had greater health benefits to jogging which has long been the staple exercise of the health conscious. Football combines periods of slow and fast movement with added bouts of sprinting. This makes the heart work at different paces and not just at an elevated level. This mimics the new trend known as ‘interval training’ which is what fitness trainers the world over now recommend as a more effective way of controlling body fat and increasing overall fitness.
It is thought that interval training has a greater effect on the body as the body does not have time to adjust to a steady rhythm and cannot therefore find its comfort zone. By repeatedly slowing down and speeding up the heart you actually burn more calories and place more stress on the cardiovascular system, forcing it to adapt, this in turn increases fitness.
Endorphins, the human body’s natural mood lifter, are also released by exercise. Football is great at helping to maintain a healthy level of Endorphins and can make moods more stable. People suffering symptoms of depression and anxiety can often use exercise to help alleviate symptoms and naturally lift dark moods. Football is the perfect sport for this as it also promotes social integration which also adds its own feel good factor.
As a trend, the world is getting fatter. Football seems the ideal way to combat this trend. Government initiatives around the world are promoting football as part of a healthy lifestyle for a good reason, it’s health benefits are many.
With the excitement of the game itself, people sometimes don’t even notice that they are also getting a good workout. This will stop them getting bored and giving up which is what most sedentary people give as their main excuse for not exercising.
Football may be people’s passion, but it may also be the key to a long and healthy life.