Staying active in your 50s and beyond is one of the best ways to maintain your physical and mental health throughout your golden years. However, the majority of older Americans aren’t getting enough exercise, with the CDC reporting that about 31 million adults aged 50 and older are living a sedentary lifestyle. As adults need 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week to stay in shape, it’s important to make time for working out, and one of the best and most enjoyable ways to stay active is to play soccer. While soccer has been proven to be an ideal sport for kids, it can also be beneficial to middle aged individuals, as it can improve their overall well-being in different ways. Here are the reasons why you should play soccer in your 50s and beyond.
It improves muscle strength
Muscle loss is a natural part of aging, and according to a Harvard study, adults begin to lose 3 to 5 percent of their muscle mass per decade after the age of 30. Muscle loss can result in weakness and mobility issues, which is why most seniors are at a greater risk of falls and fractures. To keep your muscles healthy in your 50s and beyond, you’ll need to consume foods enriched with vitamins and minerals, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, which are loaded with calcium that is vital for muscle and bone health. Vitamin B12 and folic acid are also beneficial for muscle growth, while muscle building workouts such as weightlifting, yoga and soccer can help to improve strength and endurance. In a four-month study of older men aged 63 to 70, it was found that playing one-hour soccer sessions twice a week improved their muscle function by 30 percent. To build up your endurance and muscle strength, start by playing soccer for at least 30 minutes per session, and over the following weeks, you can gradually increase your playing time for best results.
It can lower your blood pressure
It is estimated that there are over 100 million Americans who have high blood pressure, and having high blood pressure can put you at risk of developing a heart disease or even a stroke, while also impacting the immune system. Thankfully, playing a sport such as soccer can help to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body fat percentage, which can all contribute to better heart health. If your blood pressure is high but you still want to engage in a sport, don’t fret. You can certainly modify soccer to suit your health condition, so see if you can get your friends to play a round of walking soccer with you. The only rule of walking soccer is that you’re not allowed to jog or run while playing it, so not only is it more suitable for those with heart conditions, but it also enables those with mobility problems to play.
It helps you to stay social
Many older adults are socially isolated from their friends and loved ones, and constantly feeling lonely or isolated can lead to depression, anxiety, and other physical health problems. Playing soccer allows you to fight off negative emotions and feelings as it allows you to get out of the house and engage in an enjoyable activity. Moreover, it enables you to have interactions with other players, and these interactions can turn into genuine friendships over time.
Stay healthy, happy and active in your 50s and beyond by playing soccer. If you have pre-existing conditions, consult your doctor, and see how you can adapt soccer to suit your health needs.