From several perspectives, why do we play football?

Hello everyone, today we share an article by Gavin McLean why we play football, hope you like it!

Gavin is a sports cardiology researcher and currently works as a sports cardiology researcher at the Aspetar Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Hospital in Qatar. “Sam” in the article is just a pseudonym, representing many 14-year-old children. Gavin uses his expertise in cardiology to tell us the benefits of playing football.

Why does Sam play football?

Sam is a 14-year-old boy who is inactive and overweight. At night, he likes to play games, and he can play until the wee hours, but on weekends he stays in his room. Sam lacks self-confidence. Due to his weight, he said that he is not interested in sports because “it is boring” and “the coach only selects his favorite players”.

Exercise is vital to our cardiovascular health. However, only half of all 14-year-old British teenagers spend two hours or more a week participating in vigorous sports activities.

Here are 3 reasons why I think Sam should play football:

Playing football requires a lot of physiology

Actively participating in sports activities from childhood will bring many health benefits to Sam (reduce the risk of heart disease), which he cannot get from moderate-intensity sports activities. There is an additional benefit: If Sam regularly participates in sports activities both in his adolescence and adulthood, these benefits may continue to work into his adulthood.

Figure 1-Reduce the risk of heart disease
Football is a high-intensity interval sport. In a 5-a-side football game, an average of 7938 meters is run for every 60 minutes of playing; among them, the high-intensity is 1,820 meters. In order to meet the physical needs of this sport, Sam’s heart must pump more blood to act for him. Muscles provide oxygen. This means that Sam’s cardiac output (the amount of blood pumped by the heart in one minute) must increase by 35 liters per minute.

To achieve this goal, Sam’s heart must beat faster (increasing the heart rate, that is, the number of heartbeats per minute), or pump more blood per beat (increase the stroke volume, that is, the amount of blood pumped by the heart per beat). ). However, Sam’s heart is limited by his body’s maximum heart rate (approximately 206 beats per minute), so the best way to provide blood to working muscles is to increase the amount of blood pumped by the heart with each beat.

Playing football makes Sam’s heart stronger

Like all muscles, the heart becomes stronger after repeated high-intensity interval exercises. This means that the heart becomes more efficient and larger, so each beat (stroke volume) delivers more blood to the working muscles, but consumes less energy.

Figure 2-The heart is stronger
Importantly, these changes will improve Sam’s ability to cope with the physiological needs of the game, including sprinting, turning and jumping, and increase his cardiac output (heart rate x stroke volume) by up to 30%, providing more for the muscles Oxygenated blood. All these factors combined will reduce his resting heart rate by 5-20 beats per minute.

Playing football is a great way to make friends

Sam lacks self-confidence. Football provides Sam with a social sport, and he is a member of the team. He will work hard for a common goal: “Victory”. Being in a team environment is very helpful for building self-confidence, a sense of belonging and making new friends. Some people will even become friends for life!

What are you worried about?

In the past ten years, football has claimed the lives of several famous athletes. The most public concern may be the cardiac arrest of Bolton professional football player Fabrice Muamba in March 2012. Should Sam’s parents be worried?

Although it is true that a small percentage of people have cardiac structure and/or electrical abnormalities, which means that high-intensity exercise may be harmful, in general, the cardiovascular benefits of regular participation in football far outweigh the risks. These worries should not be an obstacle to Sam’s participation in football.

Sam may have a family history of sudden arrhythmia death syndrome (≤35 years old) or hereditary heart disease (such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or long QT syndrome). In this case, Sam should conduct a comprehensive assessment before participating in sports.


Football provides Sam with an excellent way to exercise and helps him achieve a healthy and active lifestyle. The cardiovascular benefits of playing football are similar to endurance activities (such as long-distance running), but there is an additional benefit, that is, it creates a good social environment. Both of these factors can help Sam have a sustainable, healthy, and active lifestyle for many years to come.

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