“The real reason we don't exercise is our desire to avoid any experience of discomfort,” proposes Sherry Pagoto, PhD. What do you think? It does seem like many of our excuses about exercise revolve around discomfort: we hate sweating, having our muscles shake, getting out of bed before the sun rises, being hot and flushed, working out in front of other people, feeling anxious about putting off our to-do list, and so on. How can we stay active when the obstacles are so uncomfortable to overcome?
In its article about finding motivation to exercise, the National Institute on Aging suggests adults choose physical activities that they
- enjoy and believe will benefit them,
- can fit into their schedule,
- can do safely and correctly,
- can afford, and
- can do with friends and family.
We can’t think of an activity that fits these qualifications better than playing soccer with your kids. Playing soccer with your kids will help you overcome uncomfortable obstacles and give you the priceless benefits that come from staying active!
Fun and Beneficial
“Gooooooool!” screams the soccer commentator on the TV. The crowd roars in celebration, the scorer flips his shirt over his head and sprints across the field, and you at home whoop and jump higher than you’ve ever jumped before, chest bumping the friend next to you.
There’s a reason soccer is the world’s most popular sport: it’s more than a sport; it’s a celebration of life. And as you play it, feeling joy with your family members and friends, your blood pulsing enthusiastically, you can’t help but embrace the celebration.
Speaking of your blood pulsing, soccer is great for your cardiovascular health. Soccer increases your aerobic capacity; lowers body fat, improves muscle tone, increases muscle and bone strength, and builds strength, flexibility, and endurance.
Fits into Your Schedule and Wallet
Soccer is a low-maintenance sport. Sure, club fees and other expenses can stack up if you want to go the way of organized play, but those fees are easy to avoid. You can play soccer in rain or shine, on a field or a court, with two people or twenty people, for three minutes or three hours. All you need is a ball.
Don’t believe the myth that you don’t have time to exercise. Staying active is so important, and soccer makes it quick and easy to do anytime. Grab your kids, grab a ball, and get playing!
A big concern with some types of exercise is their propensity to cause injuries, especially when players don’t use correct technique. Weightlifting can strain us, yoga can whack us out of alignment, and football can cause serious brain damage. Soccer is no exception: soccer can cause overuse injuries and injuries from contact with the ball or other players, including bruising, impact injuries (like nail trauma), growth-plate injury, and strained muscles. Yikes!
Prevent soccer injuries by keeping the activity level appropriate for your fitness level, making sure the field is in good condition, and using correct techniques. When you do so, you and your child will be more likely to enjoy soccer, and it’ll become just another part of your active lifestyle.
Friends and Family
Soccer is a social sport, and your kids will love you for being a bigger part of that social aspect by playing with them. The good news for you is that the social aspect will also help you to stay active. Create a support system by inviting friends and other family members to play with you. And make it a little competitive: a study by the University of Pennsylvania found that healthy competition in a social network may create more motivation to exercise than social support.
Soccer is a great sport, but it can also cause discomfort that makes it hard for us to do any type of exercise. But the benefits of playing soccer, especially with our kids, outweigh these discomforts by a landslide. It is fun, healthy, quick, and affordable, it can be played safely, and it brings friends and family together, creating a social celebration that makes it easy to have an active lifestyle. There’s no better activity than playing soccer with your kids, so grab a ball and play!