Benefits Of Ice Hockey
Ice hockey is not only an entertaining sport to watch; it is also a fun sport to play. And on top of its entertainment factor, it is also very good for those who partake in it—as with any sport, playing hockey regularly can bring you numerous benefits that are not only physical. So today, we’re going to be telling you why we think hockey is good for you and would encourage you to give it a try!
Hockey is incredibly good for you in that it keeps your heart healthy, keeps you fit, flexible, and ensures your muscles stay strong. It is also great for balance and hand-eye coordination. Hockey helps people develop good social skills and also immensely valuable to your overall mental wellbeing.
In this article, we will discuss why hockey is so good for you by going over all of the benefits it holds for your physical and mental wellbeing. We will also go over the risks involved in playing this sport. Now let’s get started.
Hockey has many potential benefits for those who play the sport, whether it be professionally or purely recreational. It is good for your heart and lung health, fitness and muscle strength, flexibility, brain health, mental well being, balance and coordination, and helps people (especially young children) develop good social and teamwork skills.
In this section, we’ll go over each of the benefits in detail, and then we’ll discuss the risks involved in the sport.
First, let’s discuss one of the most significant benefits of playing hockey, which is its benefits to your heart health. Ice hockey is one of the best sports you can play for cardiovascular health, and so is any other type of ice skating, even if it’s only recreational.
Cardiovascular exercise takes place when the movements involved in your training make your heart and breathing rate increase, resulting in improved cardiorespiratory health, among other things.
The alternation between skating and rest that happens both when you’re training and when you are playing a match against another team (a.k.a. high-intensity interval training) makes your heart work hard and then allows it to rest. This is an excellent way of strengthening the heart and improving the efficiency of the entire cardiovascular system, which means that it’ll be able to transport oxygen to your muscles faster when you need it.
An efficient cardiovascular system is also very beneficial to the circulation of blood in your body, which, in turn, keeps your other internal organs and body parts happy and healthy and will improve cellular activity throughout the body. Additionally, hockey training will give your lungs a great workout and train them to have a higher capacity to get oxygen from the air to your lungs (and thus the rest of your body) faster.
Regularly playing hockey will also decrease your resting heart rate, helping it maintain a healthy rhythm and react to external stressors more efficiently. Having a low resting heart rate is an indication of overall health. It can help prevent or manage several health risks and conditions. Playing hockey will not only give your heart a good workout every time you play it, but it will also keep it healthy in the long run.
However, the same thing can’t be said if you’re a fan watching from the stands and you get upset if the team you’re rooting for makes a mistake or loses the match. Also, be sure to check our article on why hockey is so much fun to watch.
Ice hockey is a great sport to play in terms of keeping you fit, as it will have you sweating after only five minutes of playtime. It is a great way to tone your whole body because every muscle group is involved in moving you forward and keeping you upright.
It’s also a great way to burn off some calories, as ice hockey (along with other ice-based exercises like figure skating and recreational skating) is ranked as one of the highest energy expending sports. If you’re interested, we’ve also written an article about hockey strength and conditioning programs.
More important than that, however, is that it’s a really enjoyable way to get some exercise into your day. Showing up to practice and seeing the same people every time can immediately lift your spirits after a bad day. And let’s be honest, almost anyone likes the feeling of gliding around on a massive slab of ice and feeling a cold breeze against their face when they pick up speed.
Building up strong muscles and joints is one of the things that ice hockey does best. Every single one of your muscles is engaged and involved when you’re playing hockey. They help you stay upright on your skates, move you forward on the ice, and hit the puck with your stick. It is especially beneficial in strengthening your legs, hip flexors, shoulders, and upper arms, though your core does also play a big part when you’re playing hockey.
Toning and building up the strength isn’t only important for hitting the puck harder or because they look good. Strong muscles and joints can help prevent future sports-related injuries or injuries that come from performing a particular movement repeatedly. They can also help protect your bones, making it less likely that you break or fracture a bone, and it can also help increase bone density.
Even people in the stands get a good workout from all of the jumping up and down when their team scores a point!
We previously spoke about how playing hockey can positively affect the strength of your joints and muscles, but it also is really good at keeping them fluid and flexible.
Because you are often bending and stretching to try and reach the puck with your stick, your muscles, joints, and other connective tissues are kept flexible. If you are just starting out on the ice, these movements can help improve your body’s overall flexibility and have a lot of positive impacts on your life.
When your body is flexible and able, you are much less likely to experience an injury due to overstretching a part of your body. This means that you won’t be as likely to tear a muscle or a ligament if you fall or move in a way that isn’t natural for your body. You also won’t sprain your ankles as much if the ligaments and tendons in your feet and ankles are stretched regularly.
And in addition to this, keeping your body (your joints and connective tissues in particular) flexible can help you keep your ability to move freely as you age and can also help you recover more quickly after sustaining an injury.
When we were children, we had absolutely no problems making new friends; all they had to be willing to do was participate in our crazy made up games. But as we get older, meeting new people you can actually get along with becomes harder and harder. By joining a hockey club or team, you’ve instantly got a new pool of people to hang out with, on the ice and off.
Hockey is a team sport, which means that every team member is equally valuable, and they all need to work together to score a goal and beat their opposing team. Not only is hockey great as a team-building practice, but it also teaches us the value of working well with others and not trying to do everything ourselves. It also shows us that we can rely on someone else to help us do something we’re struggling with or can’t do.
Hockey is also perfect for helping people develop their social skills and how they interact with other people. This can be especially helpful to young children as well as people who struggle with any form of social anxiety or who have trouble communicating with others.
Because communication between players is so crucial in a hockey match, playing hockey can help teach children the value of open communication in every aspect of life. Also, consider taking a read through our article listing thirteen different reasons why we think hockey is fun.
Above the fact that playing hockey can help build social skills and the ability to work with others, sometimes it’s just nice to be surrounded by a group of people with whom you share a similar interest, can get along with, and perhaps even strike up a friendship with.
It’s pretty obvious from looking at a hockey player that playing hockey is good for your body and physical well being, but what many people don’t know is that it can also significantly impact the health of your brain and your mental well being. This can have positive impacts on your mood, hormone stability, and cognitive function.
Hockey is a fast-paced sport that is continually moving and changing, demanding that people who play the game are able to think on their feet and make snap decisions to get the best play out of themselves and their teammates. This means that not only are players using a lot of physical strength to keep up the pace of the game, they are also using a lot of mental power to make these decisions.
This enables children to develop excellent mental acuity and helps adults keep their brains tack-sharp. However, playing hockey is also a great way of keeping your mind healthy. It allows you to clear your mind of all of the pressure from your daily life and focus only on playing the game. This makes hockey an excellent way of relieving stress for a lot of people.
Regular exercise has also been shown to help balance the body’s hormone levels and improve a person’s overall mood. This can have a significant effect on your daily life and how you handle challenging situations you may come across. It can also impact how you interact with others as well as with yourself and how you can carry over the effects this sport has on you into the other aspects of your life and surroundings.
Ice hockey demands that its players have good control over their bodies, including speed, power, balance, and hand-eye coordination. Because everything on the ice happens at a faster pace than it would on the ground, players need to have impressive hand-eye coordination to pass, receive, and handle the puck.
The longer and more often you play hockey, the better your hand-eye coordination will become, and you’ll be able to handle the puck faster and with more ease. Playing hockey will improve your overall coordination and reflexes.
Being on ice means that you never really have solid footing under you since your skates are always moving around on the ice. Your stability on the ice is a good reflection of how well you use your core, glutes, and other stabilizing muscles to keep your balance. When you play ice hockey often, these muscles will become a lot stronger, and your ability to engage them to maintain your balance will also become better.
But being able to stay upright on ice is not the only use of your balancing abilities. You are utilizing your balance every day without knowing it just by standing. Your balance affects every aspect of how you live your life. Developing your ability to balance will not only allow you to skate better and recover after losing your balance, but it will also enable you to do other things in your life with more ease.
Everyone gets angry and frustrated sometimes, but most people don’t have a productive way to get rid of it, so they often bottle it all up, and then one day end up losing their cool because a waiter brought them Pepsi instead of Coke.
Playing hockey is one of the best ways to blow off steam from a day’s work because you can take all your anger out on the puck, instead of the poor waiter who only made a tiny mistake. It is a great way to get out of your head and focus on something other than the things that are frustrating you while still getting to get rid of the angry energy that you’ve kept pent up inside for the whole day.
Now you know that not only is playing hockey a great benefit to your overall health, but it is also a productive way to get rid of aggression and manage your anger better. So the next time the waiter brings you the wrong drink, you’ll be able to ask for the right one politely, instead of wanting to throw the drink in their face.
Now that we’ve gone through the numerous health, social, and mental benefits of playing hockey, we do also need to go over the risks. These aren’t meant to deter you in any way from playing hockey, but it is necessary to be aware of the risks involved in this sport should you decide you want to start playing it.
The first risk is always that you might be hit in the face by either a puck or by someone’s stick. However, the protective gear you wear while playing should be able to protect you from the worst of the impact, and you probably won’t come away with a gaping hole in your cheek.
Like with any physical activity, ice hockey does come with some risks. Playing and training for hockey can sometimes result in injury. This can be anything as small as a scrape or a bruise, or sore muscles the day after training, all the way to a sprained or torn muscle or ligament, or, worst-case scenario, a broken bone.
However, many hockey players don’t suffer any severe injuries from regular gameplay. Most of the time, when there is one, it is usually the result of rough or dirty play from the player themselves. So while there are a few risks involved in playing ice hockey, most of the severe injuries can be avoided simply by wearing all the right protective gear and by not playing in an unnecessarily rough way.
We also discuss this topic in more detail in our article which looks into the potential dangers of ice hockey.
If you aren’t too worried about the potential risks involved in playing ice hockey, then you should definitely give it a go! Try to find a club or team near you and sign up to join the next session.
Ice hockey is a great sport to get into if you live somewhere close to an ice rink, or even better, somewhere where temperatures drop low enough to freeze the water at a nearby lake. Whether you’ve been playing hockey your whole life, or you’re just getting into it, there are benefits to be had.
And if you’ve never played hockey or even watched a game before, perhaps this will inspire you to get out onto the ice so you can reap some of these benefits for yourself, despite there being a few risks involved in playing the sport.
- NASC Hockey Oshawa: Why Play Hockey?
- Sports Rec: What Are the Health Benefits of Playing Hockey?
- Swedish Press: Hockey Health Benefits