When we think of learning to play hockey, we think of kids strapping on their skates and joining a pee wee hockey team. However, hockey isn’t just for the young. In fact, learning to play as an adult can be incredibly beneficial to your health and well-being.
Here are the top 10 benefits of learning to play hockey as an adult:
1. Burn fat and calories:
Hockey requires several short bursts of energy. This kind of activity can help you burn a lot of fat and calories, fast. On average, a player can burn up to .06 calories per pound, per minute. For example, a 180 pound player could burn over 600 calories in an hour. This can help you lose a significant amount of weight over a period of time.
2. Improve cardiovascular health:
Because hockey requires so much activity, your heart and cardiovascular system is utilized more to help deliver enough oxygen to your muscles, lungs and brain. Over time, this will improve the function and health of your cardiovascular system.
3. Boost metabolism:
Hockey mimics the fundamentals of interval training. This start-stop method to physical activity can help you burn more calories and increase your metabolism.
4. Get a full body workout:
Playing hockey requires you to use all of your muscles. Skating can help strengthen quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, calves and your core while puck handling and shooting can help you build strength in your triceps, biceps and forearms. You might be sore after your very first game or practice!
5. Gain muscle strength:
With the interval-like physical activity involved in this sport, you can gain significant muscle strength. This importance of muscle strength can be transferred beyond the ice to everyday life. Enhanced muscle strength can reduce your risk of injury, improve bone strength and strengthen connective tissues in your joints and throughout your body.
6. Refine hand-eye coordination:
As an adult, you already have a certain level of hand-eye coordination in order to function in everyday life. However, when you start to play hockey in your adult years, you can refine your hand-eye coordination skills. Because hockey requires you to skate, handle a puck and watch for your team mates on the ice all at the same time, it can improve your coordination. It can also improve your spontaneous responses, reaction time, reflexes and agility.
7. Improve balance:
In hockey, you must achieve balance in order to skate and play the game properly. Being in the hockey position can help you gain a low center of gravity and improve your overall balance.
8. Develop team spirit:
Being on a team of 11 players (or more, in some cases) can help you develop a sense of team spirit and pride. Together, you are aiming to achieve goals and victories. You cannot win without the help of your teammates!
9. Enhance communication skills:
Playing hockey requires both verbal and physical communication. You must learn how to communicate effectively with your teammates to have success on the ice. However, this can translate to improved communication skills off the ice as well.
10. Boost in overall mood:
Exercise and physical activity is known to increase a person’s overall mood. Endorphins are released that can help alleviate depression, anxiety and stress. Not only does hockey achieve this, but it does have an added brain-boost with the high demand of good decision making skills. In order to get goals on the score board, you must be able to make good decisions throughout the physical play. The boost in your mood can start on the ice, but can be felt throughout all aspects of your life.
When you begin playing hockey as an adult, not only can you see these benefits develop over time, but you can also form long-lasting relationships with the players on your team. According to Harvard Health, scientists have found that adult relationships help relieve harmful levels of stress which can adversely affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation and the overall immune system. If you’re thinking about signing up for a novice league or joining a few clinics, consider these benefits and other advantages associated with playing this sport. You should also speak with your doctor or health care physician prior to committing to a team to ensure you are healthy enough for physical