Football is the world’s most popular sport, and for a good reason. It has the potential to inspire, uplift, and bring you crashing back down in the space of a few minutes.
Millions of people settle down every weekend to enjoy the action in the Premier League and other top-tier leagues around the world. Stars like Virgil van Dijk, Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe do things on a football pitch that are worth watching.
But football isn’t just for watching – it’s also great fun to play. By spending just a few minutes kicking a ball around with other people of the same skill level, you can enjoy a range of measurable benefits.
Football provides an excellent workout, especially if you’re in an outfield position. You’ll not only be running from one side of the pitch to the other: you’ll be doing it in an unpredictable, sporadic way that will help you to develop an all-around way. Unlike, say, jogging, which sees you perform the same basic movement over and over again, football will provide a much more rounded workout.
Football is a sport that, by definition, can’t really be played without other people. When you’re collaborating in a team sport, you’ll be able to form close bonds with those around you. You’ll spend time covering for one another, and picking one another up when the going gets tough. Football will also help you to work on your broader interpersonal and communication skills. If you can call for the ball at a given moment, then you can raise your hand at a work-related meeting.
Almost inevitably, playing football with other people will involve you in other social activities, too. You’ll find yourself invited to the pub for post-match debriefings, if nothing else.
Mental health benefits
Just about any activity that’s good for your body will tend to also be good for your mind and brain. Exercise releases feel-good hormones like dopamine, which will limit your risk of depression.
You’ll also be able to concentrate on the immediate problem of how to get the ball from one place to another, which will prevent you from worrying about other, bigger problems that you might be dealing with at work or at home.
It’s worth noting that many of the benefits we’re discussing here aren’t isolated. They all have a way of interacting with one another, such that we create a positive upward spiral. If you’ve moving around more, you’ll be in better shape, and your mood will be better. If your mood is better, then you’ll be better able to communicate with other people, and enjoy yourself. If you’re enjoying yourself, moreover, you’ll be more inclined to keep up the habit of playing football regularly!