Find a green space, and you’ll find folks playing recreational football. Recreational, yes, but they take it seriously. Football is a national passion whether professional, association, or recreational.
It’s simply health for body and mind even among the lowest performing teams or most casual players. It puts players into competitive situations that no one seems to mind, especially if there is a pub visit at the end of the game.
5 benefits of recreational football
London hosts hundreds of after-work football leagues in 5, 6, and 7-a-side formats. Some players are more fit than others and more skilled than others. But, it does not stop them from having some rough and tumble fun.
- Comparable benefits: According to a study in the British Medical Journal, “recreational football is a worthwhile alternative to Zumba dancing and continuous running providing similar decreases in body weight and fat mass.”
The study examined the health benefits of playing recreational football with those gained from other popular exercise programs to find it an active, enjoyable, and effective option.
- Body fat: It takes some commitment and regular pay, but players should see weight loss. They lose body fat, increase muscle mass in legs and thighs, and strengthen bones.
The course and demands of any game will exercise shoulders, chest, and waist as well as legs, thighs, and arms. Because these body parts move in erratic ways throughout a match, they are exercised fully.
- Blood pressure: The British Journal of Sports Medicine was interested in the advantages of recreational football for disease prevention among the untrained men who play regularly. They found recreational football has “marked effects on the cardiovascular system with average heart rates being around 80% of maximal heart rate (HRmax) and substantial time is spent above 90% HRmax. . . . Recreational football training has broad-ranging physiological effects. It lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure by typically 7–8 and 5–7 mm Hg, respectively, and even more in hypertensive and patients with type II diabetes.”
The constant running in a good game of recreational football improves blood flow, blood pressure, and respiratory functions.
- Blood cleansing: That improved blood flow throughout the body’s systems cleans and strengthens the blood. London offers almost unlimited opportunities for play. This football league or that might play on pitches throughout the area. But, the benefit to players’ blood is certain.
Exercise triggers metabolic responses link low-density (LDL) and high-density (HDL) lipoproteins. It reduces cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose tolerance. And, all these are related to the potential for heart disease and diabetes.
- Mind-building: Recreational football requires the exercise of mind as well as body. There’s what some call a “feel good factor.” Physical exercise reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. The improved bodily systems release and modulate the flow of hormones like dopamine and serotonin that affect mood and mental well-being.
Regular exercise assures deep and restful sleep, higher energy levels, and clearer thinking. Moreover, the play creates lasting social connections and team values.
The final score
Playing recreational football regularly as part a local league guarantees benefits to heart and body of the thousands who team up in fun but competitive games throughout the area. The sheer fun in play may be more important to players than the benefits to mind and body, but those benefits cannot be ignored.