If you’re actively involved in any type of sport, you’re reaping all sorts of personal benefits. Some are easily identifiable, while others might not have crossed your mind.
Cardiovascular fitness refers to how well your heart, lungs, blood cells and other organs consume, transport and use oxygen to produce energy for movement. Physical activity improves cardiovascular fitness, which allows your body to perform for longer periods of time. The obvious benefit for hockey players is prolonged on-ice performance, which can make you a more effective athlete. But a high cardiovascular fitness level is also useful off the ice. Your body is more prepared to try new activities and you’ll feel less fatigued doing everyday functions, like walking your dog or using stairs.
An unfortunate reality of today’s society is that many children and young adults are subject to weight gain and obesity. The good news? Sports assist with weight management. Physical activity helps balance the amount of calories consumed versus the amount burned. So you’re boosting your health every time you attend hockey practice, go for a run or play a game of shinny.
Even at young ages, active sports involvement can lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other conditions. Not only are you managing your weight and promoting healthy body functions, you’re also working to protect your body from future challenges.
There are a number of emotional health benefits you receive from playing sports. Exercising causes the brain to release chemicals called endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body and help reduce stress. These effects can also lead to reduced depression and anxiety.
Another perk is improved self-esteem. Working towards a goal, either individually or with a group of people, can help build your self-confidence. Remember the first time you skated circles around your opponents? That feeling of accomplishment was self-esteem building in progress.
Being constantly surrounded by teammates, coaches, parents and fans leads to improved social skills. Sports also teach transferable skills that are applicable to other areas of life. For example, teamwork, leadership, a strong work ethic and goal setting are all usable skills in non-sport settings. Take a minute to recognize how much your personal skills have developed to date and your potential for further progress in the future.
If you’ve ever second guessed your rationale for being involved in sports, here’s reassurance that you’re doing the right thing and your future self will thank you for it.
Are you a serious athlete ready to take your hockey skills to the next level? Check out our AAA program!