Are team sports more beneficial than solo exercise?

Posted on: January 24th, 2020 | by Laura Murdoch | No Comments

January might nearly be over but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to put some of your New Year’s Resolutions into effect. Maybe you wanted to take up a new sport or hobby? Maybe you want to get fitter? Maybe you’re thinking about working on your mental health? Well, we might just have the perfect answer to each of those: start playing football. Now, I know what you’re thinking. We might be a little biased when it comes to football’s potential to solve most of your problems but hear us out. Football has been proven to benefit not only your physical health, but also your mental health. It might just be the best way to get all of your 2020 goals achieved in one go.

Young boys in a football team

A sense of community

Playing football is a great way to get out and do something. It’s also a fantastic way to meet new people who have similar interests. If you have a passion for the sport, it’s always worth checking out your local team. Go and watch a match. See whether you think it might be a good fit. Even if you don’t end up playing then you being a fan might become your new hobby. Whatever happens, a football team is an important part of the local community.

If you find that your local club isn’t looking for new players or that there is a lack of teams near you, then you can always set one up. It’s going to take a lot of work but it’s worth the effort. If you’re thinking about starting your own club and need a bit of assistance, we have a handy guide that explains what it involves. Check out our guide on how to set up a football team and find out what costs are involved.

Women's football team training

Physical Health

Again, this one is fairly straight forward. Playing football is good for your health. It’s recommended that everyone gets 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. Joining a team is a great chance to hit your target without losing motivation. With weekly training sessions and then weekend matches, you’ll be getting a great workout. As your fitness starts to improve, so will your desire to keep going.

Playing team sports can actually give you a more rounded level of fitness compared to people who exercise alone. Studies were carried out that compared team athletes showed a similar level of aerobic stamina to endurance athletes (.eg. distance runners, road cyclists, and skiers) and a similar jump range to power athletes (e.g. sprinters, bodybuilders, and throwers).

Working as part of a team may also make you work harder than if you were to work out solo. Studies have also shown that people who play as part of a team actually work harder than those who exercise alone. Not only do you have a team of people pushing you on but you feel a sense of responsibility. You’re not just exercising for yourself but for the team. It is this motivation that helps kickstart a new and healthier way of life. Taking exercise away from the pitch and making sensible decisions about food.

 Mental Health

We’ve already briefly covered this topic in our blog post about how exercise impacts your brain but it’s not just your physical health that can get a massive boost from playing football. Being a member of a sports team can be great for your mental health as well. Being part of a team gives you a sense of community and helps you feel closer to people. This can have a major impact on your general happiness. Your team can feel like another support network, so you know there are always people to rely on if you need them. When you play sports in a team, then you have people to share the highs and lows with.

One study was carried out that looked at exercise and its link to mental health. The study linked the way a person chooses to exercise and the difference that has on their wellbeing. It looked at people who took part in team sports, informal fitness groups, or those who exercised alone. The results found that people who did any kind of group exercise had better mental health than those who exercised alone.

Men's football team huddle

Case study: MAN v FAT Football

Back in 2014, Andrew Shanahan founded MAN V FAT because he wanted to find a weight loss programme that was aimed at women. Shanahan had joined a slimming club after struggling with his weight for a while. He quickly discovered that these were all mainly aimed at women. It started life as a digital magazine and became incredibly successful. The brand began to grow and, in 2015, MAN v FAT Football was launched.

This was a football league that catered exclusively to overweight men who wanted to lose weight. Uniquely, players are rewarded for winning games and for losing weight. The results of your weekly weigh-in count towards your team’s goals. So, for example, if you lose weight you would get a goal added to your team’s goals. If you put on weight, you’d get an own goal added.

Not only are they officially endorsed by the FA but they’ve helped men lose over 200,000lbs. There are plenty of case studies of men who feel that being part of a team of like-minded people is the thing that really boosted their weight loss. That feeling part of a team was the best thing to help them stay motivated. MAN v FAT Football has seen their players not only lose the weight they wanted but has seen their mental health improve. They are fitter, happier, and having fun. What more could you want?

What’s stopping you?

So, if you’re looking for something new to do in 2020, football could have major benefits on all aspects of your life. It’s a great way to meet people and get healthy. All you need to do is get started. Even if it’s just a casual kick around with your friends, football has a great many benefits to your help. Check out our great range of footballs and football kits to get you on your way. You’ll be showing off your skills on the pitch in no time.

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