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Recreational Soccer: Cardiovascular Health, Physical Fitness, and Mental Health

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Soccer for over many generations now is the world’s most popular sport. Part of the reason for its popularity is the simplicity and low barrier of entry required to partake in the sport. Unlike most spots where equipment is needed, all that is required is a ball; this allows for an easy sell to a patient when trying to motivate them into routine participation. When we consider the use of a physical activity to improve the health of a patient, recreational soccer (RS) is a very appealing tool that can be used to reach the targeted health goals. Studies have shown that recreational soccer, is just as effective and as the possibility to be even more effective than high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT) at improving body composition, muscular fitness, and intermittent exercise performance. Another study showed that RS is superior to rudimentary exercises like endurance running as it has a more pronounced improvement in blood pressure, and heart rate; furthermore, it induces higher fat loss as metabolic functions are enhanced. Physical and physiological improvements are not the only factors that can be affected by RS, mental health can be as well. Studies have shown that RS can have a positive motivating effect on individuals who need a lifestyle change and because it can also facilitate social interactions, it increases the likelihood of adherence and compliance to the activity. Another study that examined the impact of Rs on the wellness of individuals also concluded that participation enhances mood and improves overall psychological wellbeing.


Over the past 9weeks, I played soccer for at least 30mins. My initial perceived stress questionnaire total was 21 points. My initial resting physiologic values were: blood pressure 122/79 and heart rate and respiratory rate were 81 and 15, respectively. My initial post-exercise physiologic values were: blood pressure 130/65; heart rate and respiratory are were 108 and 25 respectively, with a dyspnea scale of 3. After completion of 9 weeks of swimming my perceived stress questions total was 13 points. My pre-exercise resting physiologic values were: blood pressure 123/78 and heart rate and respiratory rate were 80 and 14, respectively My initial post-exercise physiologic values were: blood pressure 131/68; heart rate and respiratory were 107 and 25 respectively, with a dyspnea scale 3.


Throughout 9 weeks, playing recreational soccer has decreased my perceived stress question total from 21 ( moderate stress) to 13 (low stress). Although I did not see huge changes in my blood pressure or heart rate, I did notice an increase in tolerance to partaking in such a strenuous exercise as the weeks went by. In the very beginning, my hands would be dropped down to my knees after just 15mins of playing, but as time went on I had less labored breathing, and my endurance was much improved. My dyspnea scale did not change, it was constant for most of the duration of the 9 weeks.


Partaking in recreational soccer has shown to improve not only overall physical health cardiovascular health as well. An underlying benefit of recreational soccer is the positive impact it has on mental health. The fact that it exposes us to other people and fosters human interaction is a key reason why it has such a positive impact on stress levels. 

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Recreational Soccer: Cardiovascular Health, Physical Fitness, And Mental Health. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from
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