Posted on March 08 2017
Cardio is an essential part of achieving your fitness goals and lowering body fat. But many people think the only way to get cardiovascular exercise is to spend countless, motivating-sapping hours on a treadmill.
But that's not the case!
Playing a sport like soccer can be a much better way to get a good cardiovascular workout, without having to sign up for monotonous treadmill sessions. In this post, we'll tell you why joining a local soccer game can be better investment than a gym membership, and how it'll complement your strength goals.
There's a reason why soccer players often grace the cover of fitness magazines. The world’s most popular sport is also one of the toughest cardiovascular activities. Soccer players can run up to 12km in a single game, and the movements include a combination of aerobic and anaerobic actions.
In a LIVESTRONG article on the advantages of soccer, they reveal that soccer “promotes flexibility, coordination and muscle endurance.” These are benefits you won't get from a simple treadmill session, and it's also much more fun!
Playing soccer can also complement strength workout sessions, since it improves leg strength and increases VO2 capability. According to Men’s Fitness, when you play soccer you tend to tailor your workout to improve your game, giving you an overall more rounded fitness workout, as opposed to splitting it into strength and cardio.
Jordon Webb, who works as a strength and conditioning coach for the Major League Soccer team Chicago Fire, believes that strength training is an essential part of football. According to him, “it underpins endurance, agility, speed – it underpins power production, everything you need to be an athlete. I think that body strength is probably the quality that is most important for any soccer player, no matter the position.”
To see how beneficial the sport can be for fitness, just take a look at soccer superstar Arjen Robben.
Arjen Robben, regularly praised by soccer site Betfair for his long career and his “dribbling skills, speed, and crossing ability while playing for both Holland and Bayern Munich”, is still playing at the top of his game at the age of 32. His pace and fitness has always been an indomitable asset.
In 2010, Robben scored a wonder goal against Schalke 04 for Bayern Munich, where he ran from the halfway line and around several defenders before scoring. Schalke captain Heiko Westermann told ESPN Asia, “his pace was enormous. We should have challenged him as he received the ball.” And Robben’s supreme conditioning has helped him become one of the best players in the world, turning out for the likes of PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich throughout a trophy-laden career.
Besides the cardiovascular aspects of soccer that make it so appealing, there's also a valuable social component too!
Unless you're lucky enough to have a reliable workout partner, going to the gym can often be a solitary activity which can sometimes be demotivating. On the other hand, soccer is a great way to meet likeminded people and make new friends while also getting a high-intensity workout in.
Playing soccer also cheaper than joining a gym, and without the annual contracts and fees. And if you're the type that has trouble staying committed to your routine, training with a regular soccer team will give you extra motivation to stick to it!