Once every four years during the massively popular World Cup, America turns its televisions on and thoughts toward the world's favorite sport: soccer. It is a myth that Americans don't play soccer; for years soccer has been the second most popular team sport among US youths. Soccer is a sport that provides an all-around workout. It challenges your body, your heart, and your brain. Running the field for 90 minutes provides your legs with an excellent workout, but it requires more than strong legs to make a great soccer player - kicking, heading, and defending the ball exercises your chest, upper back, core, and arms. The combination of all those movements at the high speed of game-play revs up the heart rate to sky-high levels. So, naturally, the health benefits of playing soccer at least one to two times a week include a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and can be used to supplement a physician's regimen to treat hypertension. Also, as a high impact sport, soccer improves bone density, which reduces the risk of fracturing bones.
As great as the physical benefits of playing soccer can be, soccer is also excellent training for the brain and for the mind. Research has proven that excellence at soccer requires more than physical fitness - elite-level players are among the top two to five percent in the world in "executive functioning" - the ability to deal with sudden problems, and a key aspect in memory, multitasking and creativity. Additionally, team soccer relies on extensive communication between teammates, communication that is proven to enhance social skills. Finally, soccer is a game that induces "flow," a deep state of focus that allows you to forget time, fatigue, and worries and to feel motivated and happy.
So, start playing soccer today! Perhaps the simplest game to set up, all you really need to play soccer is a ball - the rest can be improvised. Rabbit Air and Uncle Sam encourage you to take up the spirit of the World Cup and start playing soccer today!