Hockey, whether played on ice or on a field, is a sport that offers a total-body workout that includes both aerobic and anaerobic elements. The fast-paced nature of the sport provides aerobic exercise, while the reliance on all of the body’s major muscle groups also makes it an anaerobic activity.
A result is a number of health benefits to the body, both physically and mentally. But with benefits come risks. Hockey is no exception, and safety should always be a priority when practicing the sport so that health benefits are not negated.
Health benefits of playing hockey
Here are some health benefits of playing hockey:
- Cardiovascular exercise- Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise mainly occurs when your movements cause your breathing and heart rate to increase resulting in fat loss, improved cardiorespiratory health, and calorie burn. Such kinds of workouts also help you maintain a healthy weight and keep illnesses at bay. Hockey is a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Due to the start and stop nature of the game where the running or skating is broken by periods of rest you get to enjoy greater benefits of cardio.
- Enhanced muscular strength- Moreover hockey also provides a great deal of strength training workout with a core focus on the development of the leg and the core muscles. The sport can moreover lead to enhanced muscle strength and improvement in the athletic performance of an individual. Such strength training activities also tend to reduce the risk of injuries, strengthen the connective tissues as well as improve bone strength.
- Improved balance and coordination- Hockey demands the players to develop speed, agility, and power. Having quick reactions is extremely crucial during gameplay. While playing ice hockey players must pass and receive pucks that travel quickly across the ice whereas the field hockey players must do the same with the ball. In both versions, the player has to respond quickly to make the play. When you develop these skills, you improve overall balance and agility.
- Brain boost- In addition to the physical developments associated with hockey, there are also some vital mental benefits provided by the sport. Exercise is a great way to improve your mood since it releases endorphins that are released, easing feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Hockey as a form of exercise provides such benefits. Moreover, the sport demands good decision making, and therefore honing these skills on the ice or field can be transferred to everyday life as well.
- Develops hand-eye coordination- Playing hockey involves the coordination between the hands and the eyes. It also improves the spontaneous responses and reactions of the players during the game. Practicing this game aids in developing coordination abilities, improves hand-eye reflexes, and improves agility.
- Improve communication- Playing hockey involves the communication of messages through eyes and gestures. Being able to effectively communicate with a teammate in the middle of a fast play not only leads to success on the ice, but it also leads to the overall improvement in the communication skills of the players.
Even though hockey comes with a number of health benefits, there are also some risks associated with the sport that should also be noted. Like any physical activity, playing hockey can result in injury.
To reap the full health benefits of hockey, you should practice safety tips to avoid getting hurt.
These include wearing the appropriate protective gear such as pin hockey, warming up and cooling down before and after playing and practicing good sportsmanship.