Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and is an ideal sport for fitness, health, strength and endurance. Soccer, or football as it's also called, is ideal for players of all ages.
Soccer – or football as it’s also called – is the most popular sport in the world and is played in most countries. It is a team sport, involving 11 players on each side who use their legs, head and torso to pass a ball and score goals. The nature of the game means that players may be sprinting, running fast or slow, and sometimes may be standing around.
As play during soccer is continuous, soccer is great for fitness and cardiovascular health. People of various ages and skill levels can participate in soccer, with individuals of various sizes being able to do equally well. Soccer can also be a great sport for kids who may not have high levels of athletic ability, but who would like to participate in team sports.
Soccer can be a great workout and lots of fun. The health benefits include:
- Increases aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health
- Lowers body fat and improves muscle tone
- Builds strength, flexibility and endurance
- Increases muscle and bone strength
- Improved health due to shifts between walking, running and sprinting.
There are many other benefits from playing a team sport like soccer. For example it:
- Is generally a non-contact sport
- Teaches coordination
- Promotes teamwork and sharing
- Teaches you to think on-the-go
- Helps to increase skills in concentration, persistence and self-discipline
- Is a great way to meet people and exercise with friends
- Can provide an opportunity to increase your confidence and self-esteem, and help to reduce anxiety
- Requires very little equipment so can be played in the backyard or park
- Is relatively easy to learn, so beginners can easily join in on the fun and play basic soccer for recreation
- Is an international sport.
Soccer is very popular in Australia and is played both recreationally and competitively. Playing a basic game of soccer doesn’t require a large number of people or a soccer field; it can be as simple as having a kick with friends.
Playing soccer just for fun can be done in backyards, streets or on beaches. All you need is a ball! You can also play soccer competitively by joining a local club, organised competitions and junior clinics.
To protect yourself from injury and prepare your body to play soccer, make sure you:
- Warm up your muscles and joints before starting
- Maintain your fitness to play well and avoid injury or fatigue
- Ensure you have plenty of fluids on hand and rehydrate regularly
- Don’t overdo it – depending on your age and physical condition.
- Wear the correct protective equipment.
Where to get help
- Your local council
- Your local soccer club
- Football Federation Australia (with links to state organisations)
- Smartplay Tel. (03) 9674 8777
Things to remember
- Soccer is a good sport for maintaining health, fitness, strength and endurance.
- You can play with a club, learn through a junior clinic or have a kick with friends.
- Make sure you have plenty of fluids on hand and rehydrate regularly.
- Don’t overdo it. Mix up your physical activity with other low-impact sports.
You might also be interested in:
- Exercise programs.
- Exercise safety.
- Physical activity - choosing the one for you.
- Physical activity - how to get started.
- Physical activity - men.
- Physical activity - staying motivated.
- Physical activity - women.
- Soccer - preventing injury.
- Sporting performance and food.
Want to know more?
Go to More information for support groups, related links and references.
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Fact sheet currently being reviewed.
Last reviewed: July 2011
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