Football for Fitness
by WLR Staff
From 12th June until 13th July, the eyes of the world will focus on Brazil and the 2014 FIFA World cup, and every football fanatic will dream that the cup will be carried home aloft along with the pride of the Nation.
Children will refuse to go to bed, fathers and husbands will become welded to the armchair and wives and mothers will find any excuse not to go into the kitchen (unless of course there is a TV installed)!
Although you will need to be prepared for the visual onslaught that will accompany football fever, and the sudden interest shown by family members not normally even aware of the offside rule, you can take the bull by the horns and harness this new found exuberance and maximise its effect.
This is of course the ideal opportunity to get out of the house and get a little of that elusive quality time with the family while getting exercise at the same time. Children (and parents) love a kick about and with more and more focus on childhood weight issues, as well current advertising drives to reduce the ‘spare tyre’ of the over 30’s, football provides many of the essential components of a good fitness regime.
The whole range of movements involved in the game, (even in a garden kick about), including kicks, twists, turns and sprints provide better all round exercise that helps build long term fitness and burn fat leading some people to speculate that football may one day be prescribed by doctors to patients with high blood pressure or those at risk of developing heart disease. Studies indicate that football affects numerous cardiovascular risk factors such as oxygen uptake, heart function, blood pressure, cholesterol and fat mass far more than strength training and just as much, if not more than running. This is the whole principal of Interval Training, which is becoming more and more the focus of health and fitness professionals as we seek not only to improve weight control, but also to improve health, the benefits of which can be seen even before the loss in pounds does.
Try to plan your footie session to occur between meal times, which will help reduce intermittent snacking, and will keep your metabolism stoked to burn more calories for longer. Why not take a picnic? That way you can ensure that only healthy foods are included and of course you will be hungry by the time you tuck in meaning that there will be less chance of binging on junk because the kids are not really hungry. Remember too that you don’t need to play to enjoy the benefits of the game as even spectators will burn more calories than someone sitting in front of the TV – mainly due to all the jumping about and screaming that you will do as you watch! If you can, walk to the park or pitch, and if that is not possible, walk the last part of the journey by parking a little way away or getting off of the bus one stop earlier.
So while running and gym training are all very good for you when you want to lose weight, to really get all round fitness and health, maybe it’s time to sort out a 5 a side team with your friends and head down to your local pitch for a kick about a couple of times a week. It’ll build a great bond between you and really get your fitness and health ‘goals’ off in the right direction. Oh, and this isn’t just for the lads, football can be enjoyed by everyone who wants to give it a go, so mix it up, get involved and enjoy a healthier, happier you!
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