While ice hockey unfairly gets categorized as a sport prone to facial injury, fighting, and other potential wounds, the sport has far more health benefits than risks. Hockey, especially when started young, is a wonderful way to begin a life of healthy habits.
As long as safety is taken into consideration, ice hockey is an exercise that will increase your longevity. Experts at Hockey Pursuits shared with us some great health benefits of playing hockey.
- Cardio: The first health benefit is that it is cardiovascular exercise. Your cardiovascular system is in charge of supplying oxygen to your entire body. The more you exercise that system, the stronger it becomes.
- Balance and Coordination: When you play ice hockey, you are balancing on skates, gliding across ice, and be able to respond to changes in the game during gameplay. Over time, your balance is going to improve as you learn how to move under such tricky conditions.
- Brain Fuel: You might not have thought of it, but ice hockey is also good for your brain. Just as with any cardio exercise, your brain will receive more oxygen during gameplay. Combined with the kick thinking that is required on the ice, your brain will get a workout.
- Hand-Eye Coordination: If you think about it, you are on skates, holding a stick, trying to move a puck away from your opponents and into the goal. Your hand-eye coordination will give you a better chance of making a goal, while also improving your accuracy in other areas of your life, such as parking a car or playing an outdoor game.
- Muscular Strength: Hockey itself is a strength-training workout. You engage your core, leg muscles, and even your arm muscles during a game. This will lead to enhanced muscle strength and further help your body stay healthy.
- Metabolism Boosting: Because you are not constantly moving during a hockey game, the type of exercise can turn into interval training, where you go from high intensity to low. This will burn more calories and boost your metabolism.
- Social Development: Social development is also essential for your overall health. Working in a team, communicating, and problem-solving are positive skills that will carry over into all areas of your life.
- Agility: If you are in the middle of the game, you have to be thinking on your feet and respond quickly to how your teammates and opponents play the game. You will be working on your physical and mental agility as you react quickly to moves during a game.
- Mental Health: When you do a cardio workout, your brain will receive a dose of endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for providing a happy feeling to your brain, helping reduce your risk of depression and improve your mind.
- Burns Fat and Calories: Ice hockey is an intense, internal cardio workout that burns a lot of fat and calories. Keeping your body healthy with a healthy BMI will reduce your risk for developing diseases that can be prevented with a good diet and exercise.
Possibly one of the best results that you will get from playing ice hockey is the carry-over of all of these wonderful benefits into other areas of your life. Having a healthier heart, being a healthier weight, and feeling better about yourself will all positively impact your quality of life.
Image Credit: Playing Ice Hockey from Soloviova Liudmyla/Shutterstock