Summer has arrived, and with it, soccer season is upon us. This year, we will be treated to the spectacle that is the World Cup. The excitement surrounding this sport make the event enjoyable for both die-hard and new fans alike. However, soccer is not just a great spectator sport; it’s also a terrific alternative to break up a mundane workout schedule.

This summer, try out a team sport, meet some new people, and have fun while getting fit. Here are just a few of the benefits that soccer can offer to its participants.

It helps increase overall aerobic fitness. Soccer requires a significant amount of running and other cardiovascular intensive movements with the ball such as dribbling and kicking. As a result, soccer is a great way to improve overall aerobic fitness and endurance. Research has shown that playing soccer two to three times a week can have significant positive impacts on both sedentary and active individuals, helping to improve their VO2 maxes and overall fitness level.

It improves overall coordination and balance. Skilled soccer players are required to be quick, light on their feet, and highly adept at controlling a soccer ball. As such, soccer is a fantastic sport to improve body awareness, coordination, and balance. Even over the course of a short period of soccer training, new players showed significant improvement in their overall postural balance. These are critical parts of your overall fitness, and they will help you see benefits in your running and lifting as well!

It may decrease your blood pressure and cholesterol. In conjunction with improved cardiovascular function, soccer may have added benefits over an inactive lifestyle. One research review showed overall decreases in the blood pressure and cholesterol of soccer participants. While more research is important to validate these conclusions, the known benefits of soccer are already correlated with improved health. These potential benefits suggest positive results in future studies on soccer!

Focusing on the game makes fatigue less noticeable, and the workout more enjoyable! In addition to being a great workout, soccer is a team sport that requires social interaction and teamwork. Because of the focus needed to stay competitive in the game, soccer offers improved cognitive and mental benefits.  In one study, players were less likely to fatigue and showed decreased levels of worry during a soccer game than during a normal run workout. As such, participants are like to reap increased benefits for longer periods due to the enjoyment of the game!

Soccer is a great way to change up your summer workout routine and do so while having fun. There’s never been a better time than World Cup season. The sooner you begin, the sooner you will reap the social, physical, and mental benefits of this popular sport while improving your physical fitness!