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 the major muscle groups in the body also makes it an anaerobic activity. The result is a host of health benefits for the body, both physically and mentally. But with benefits come risks. Hockey is no exception, and safety should always be a priority when playing the sport so that the health benefits are not negated.
Cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise occurs when your movements cause your breathing and heart rate to increase, resulting in calorie burning, fat loss, and increased cardiorespiratory health. This type of exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight and keeps diseases and illnesses at bay. Hockey is a form of cardiovascular exercise, and whether you are skating or running, your body benefits from the activity. Because of the start-stop nature of the game, where skating or running is broken up by periods of rest, you can enjoy the cardiovascular benefits even more. Alternating vigorous activity with moments of recovery, known as high-intensity interval training, can burn more calories and increase your metabolism.
Increased muscle strength
Field hockey also offers strength training, with core and leg muscles being developed in particular. The sport can lead to increased muscle strength as well as improved athletic performance. Strength training activities have also been shown to reduce the risk of injury, improve bone strength, strengthen connective tissues, and increase muscle mass. All of this contributes positively to a healthier and stronger body, less prone to injury, and improved overall function.
Improved coorination and balance
Field hockey requires players to develop speed, power, and agility, and having quick reactions is a must during the game. In ice hockey, players must pass and receive pucks that travel quickly down the ice, and field hockey players must do the same with a ball. In either version, the player must react quickly to respond or make a play accurately. Developing these skills can lead to better overall balance and agility, and hand-eye coordination is also positively affected.
In addition to the physical gains associated with field hockey, there is also something to be said for the mental health benefits that accompany the game. The exercise itself can improve your mood because of the endorphins that are released, alleviating feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety.As a form of exercise, field hockey offers this benefit, but there is an additional brain boost that comes with the sport as well. Field hockey requires good decision making, and honing those skills on the ice or field can also be transferred to everyday life.
Risks and Precautions
Even though field 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 field hockey can result in injury. To reap the full health benefits of field hockey, you must practice safety tips to avoid getting injured. These include wearing the proper protective gear, warming up and cooling down before and after playing, and practicing good sportsmanship.