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Once exclusively a male-only sport, football has evolved into a form of workout that is enjoyed by both male and female players. As evident in the admirable physiques and health conditions of renowned football players including Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, the sport definitely bodes well for the males.
However, did you know that football does wonders for females, too? Several controlled researches actually found that playing football could reverse the bone aging process in women by an average of three to six years. This is amazing news, considering most women will lose bone mass at a rate of 0.5 to 1 per cent every year, after they reach the age of 40. Some other perks include:
As opposed to the general misconception, you do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on beauty products just to have a glowing, blemish-free skin. Instead, just sweat it out by playing football! Dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur reportedly said the improved blood circulation from exercising will carry enough oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, thus will help nourish skin cells.
Lower body fat
Ever scrolled through pictures of celebrities on social media and wishing you had their enviable figures? Fret no more and pick up a ball. When it comes to burning fat, football works better than other forms of exercises, including running, as it recruits both slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers. It is said that the constant switch between the two during a football match will increase fat burning.
Increased cardiovascular health
When playing in a football match, players will have to run in intervals and this is a great news for the heart. It maximises oxygen intake thus reducing the risk of heart-related diseases such as heart attack or stroke. According to a 2010 study in Denmark, women improved their cardiovascular fitness by 15 percent after only 14 weeks of playing football.
The key to looking and feeling good eventually boils down to confidence. Studies revealed that playing sports such as football will help boost the confidence among women both off and off the field. Just imagine the rush of endorphins that will run through your body after winning a football match. Additionally, the feel-good hormones that were released would alleviate major stress and anxiety.
Seeing as football sharpens a player’s agility and strength, one single match would likely leave one drained and yearning for some shut-eye. Nutritional biochemist Dr Shawn Talbott reportedly said that exercise increases the body’s sensitivity to the stress hormone cortisol, which can enhance sleep. In other words, better sleep will leave you looking fresh and healthy.
Increased brain function
The beauty of football is its fast-paced nature. During a match, players will have to concentrate and make really quick decisions on the field. This will improve the cognitive functions of the brains which eventually can boost one’s strategic thinking capabilities. Not only you will look fit, but your brains will also thank you.
Common misconceptions about females and football
In spite of all the advantages, it is understood that most females are still not too keen on dabbling into football due to several misconceptions. Let us try to look at them from a different perspective:
Football is a rough sport therefore it only suits males
Sure, football involves techniques like ‘heading’ which could be dangerous if the movement is not calculated properly. However, the probability of having sports-related injuries goes for every other type of sports too, including the most common one such as running. The key is always to learn the right basics and put all safeguards in place.
You will have to stay under the heat for a long time
We know that football is played on a field and naturally, the next scary thought that might haunt potential female players would be the fear of being exposed under the scorching hot sun for too long. However, you can always have a night match where the temperature is much cooler. If you are not too thrilled about playing a vast field, get a group of your bestest girlfriends and try futsal instead. Being played in a smaller scale, shorter duration and in an indoor venue could help you change your mind about the sport.
Football will give you a man-like physique
We have all seen the legs on the world’s best footballers – they are strong, muscular and bulky. While this might be an attractive look on men, most women would not want to slip on a dress only to reveal a body that resembles the Hulk. But don’t worry, it all depends on the intensity of the training, not the sport itself. In fact, thanks to the movements involved in football, you can expect having nicely toned legs instead with adequate practice.
As the Global Principal Partner of the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, one of the top-ranked teams in the English Premier League, AIA believes that football can have positive values of teamwork, discipline and sportsmanship on people’s lives. This is in line with its belief that active participation in sport plays a vital role towards a healthy lifestyle. So what are you waiting for, ladies? It is time to tie your laces up, grab a ball and take it to the field.