As one of the most popular sports among young boys in America, football has surpassed baseball as the nation’s leading sport. Football teaches discipline, teamwork and dedication, all of which are beneficial beyond the gridiron. But American football is also a great sport for health and fitness.
Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
- Better work ethic: Even though teams play only one game weekly, they practice five days a week. That means that as long as you make a commitment to put in the hard work during the week, the success and results will show on game day. Instilling this kind of work ethic helps players improve their skill level and learn the plays.
- Stress relief: Adrenaline rushes from playing football help with stress release, so players are more calm and less prone to depression and aggressive behavior in life outside the field.
- Overall workout: The intensity and range of movements involved in the game, including kicks, twists,turns and throws, provide better overall exercise, according to a series of studies. The sustained, stop-start nature of the game helps to build long-term fitness and burn fat, as it mimics interval training.
- Mental health: Football is great at helping to maintain a healthy level of endorphins and can make moods more stable. People suffering from symptoms of depression and anxiety can often use exercise to help alleviate symptoms and naturally lift dark moods. Football also promotes social integration, which also adds its own feel-good factor.
- Teamwork: Selflessness, cooperation and teamwork are what most youth football coaches emphasize to bring their teams together, so they can function and play together efficiently and effectively as a group. These lessons carry over into daily life at school, work or with friends.
- Cardio: Football at any level requires a great deal of running, jumping and quick changes of direction. The game is an excellent form of aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
- Interval training: 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 a constant elevated level. This mimics interval training, which is a more effective way of controlling body fat and increasing overall fitness.
- It’s an enjoyable activity: 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 from getting bored and giving up, which is what most sedentary people give as their main excuse for not exercising.
- Cardiovascular health: Since football always keeps you active and moving, this adds great benefits to engage your cardiovascular system, increased longevity, as well as reduced susceptibility to heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and other chronic disease.
- Increased bone density and mass: Football players are usually required to have a high protein and carbohydrate diet because the sport is so vigorous and requires them to be strong. The strength training exercises help with increased mass and bone density, which reduces the risk of bone and joint related diseases as you get older.