Whether you want to play socially or competitively, age is no barrier to the enjoyment of this thrilling sport. Although rugby is a contact sport, the practice of tackling is generally only introduced to appropriate age groups. Younger players can learn rugby gradually through modified and non-contact versions of the sport.
Whilst the vast majority of rugby players are men, there is a growing number of women that are flocking to the sport, with female global participation rates now eclipsing 1 million across 112 nations. No matter what your age or sex, rugby is a great game for everyone to take part in.
Current World Health Organization recommendations suggest that the average person should get around 30 minutes of mild to moderate exercise five days a week, but expanding waistlines across the world indicate that not everyone is meeting this goal. But it’s not just about avoiding getting fat. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, taking the lives of 3.2 million people each year. Playing rugby represents a fantastic way to get off the couch and get active.
An intensely physical sport, rugby requires that players wanting to compete at a high level achieve a significant degree of fitness. Depending on the level of competition, rugby players can train up to four days a week (with professional players often training twice daily) using a combination of techniques including skills, fitness based exercises, weights, agility training and conditioning. Through this rigorous exercise, players are able to improve their general fitness and prevent a host of negative health effects associated with being overweight such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Rugby requires a high degree of preparation, and through participation in structured training and playing a regular game schedule, rugby can develop key mental skills of self control and discipline.
Players learn the importance of goal setting and can establish a blueprint for achieving those goals. This is an especially important lesson for younger players as they learn valuable life skills that they can take with them into adulthood: for future successes both on and off the pitch.
Prolonged long-term stress can damage molecules in the body, aging us before our time, and stress has even been linked to diseases such as diabetes, cancer and dementia. Sports like rugby can assist in reducing stress, and the release of endorphins alone is enough to lift moods and help aid a better night’s sleep.
Players are generally not concerned with their daily stresses whilst immersed in a fierce battle against another club, but throughout the course of the game there will undoubtedly be stressful moments. Through triumphing over challenging situations during the game, players build resilience to stress and are often able to better tackle problems off the field. Research by the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute has demonstrated that playing sport and physical exercise can cause short term relaxation, improved concentration, enhanced creativity and even a better mood.
Sport doesn’t just assist kids by providing them with discipline, improved self-esteem and more positive body image. There is a large body of scientific evidence that has gone on to show that kids who participate in rugby and sports in general are far less likely to smoke cigarettes or take drugs as they can see that doing so can have a detrimental effect on their health and their ability to perform.
Interestingly, numerous studies have also shown that pre-teen and teen girls’ involvement in sports has positive impact on decreasing teen pregnancy. Female teen athletes are less than half as likely to become pregnant than those that didn’t participate in sports. The girls in the studies reported higher levels of self esteem and wait longer before having sex for the first time.
There are few other moments that require a greater strength of character than staring down the flaming nostrils of a monster of a man rushing towards you with the express intention of grinding you into the turf. In any given game, there’s a high likelihood that you will get tackled to the ground. And there’s even a chance that it may hurt. But being part of a team requires certain sacrifices and bemoaning a grazed knee is not likely to earn you much favour amongst your teammates.
The resilience and ability to persevere through pain and adversity for the greater good is a key skill developed on the rugby field, and a characteristic that serves rugby players throughout the rest of their personal and professional lives.
Whilst the physical benefits of regular exercise and playing a sport such as rugby have been well documented, there is a mountain of evidence to suggest that sport can also have a positive impact on participants’ mental state as well, helping those with depression or anxiety.
Whilst picking up a rugby ball and joining the local team is not being being touted as the singular solution for individuals that battle mental health problems, often sufferers of depression and anxiety report that they feel like their lives are out of their control. Rugby, like most team sports, is able to give participants a sense of purpose and a place within the team that may be missing in other parts of their life. In addition, the sense of comradery with teammates can be an important part of helping individuals move towards a more positive frame of mind. Physical activity can be a huge aid to any mental health treatment regimen.
The cardiovascular system, or circulatory system, is that which transports blood through the human body and is responsible for bringing nutrients and oxygen to your organs. Playing rugby regularly can result in enormous benefits to the cardiovascular system, helping maintain a healthy weight, reducing the risk of disease and increasing the body’s efficiency. The intense demands of the sport mean that players are constantly running, diving and tackling each other, which in turn requires a high standard of fitness. Whilst explosive speed is not a requirement for backmen, in many matches a rugby forward can run up to 20 kilometres in a game.
Article courtesy of Kwiksure Blog 26/03/2014 https://kwiksure.com/blog/8-reasons-rugby-is-good-for-your-health/