Rugby is one of the most popular sports in the United Kingdom, and in recent years has grown dramatically in popularity all over the world. In fact, the world cup competition is now the third biggest sporting event on earth, behind only the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.
So with the 2015 Rugby World Cup starting in a couple of weeks (18th September), we’ve decided to put together a post highlighting the 10 biggest health benefits of playing this incredibly popular sport:
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of rugby is that it improves the body’s cardiovascular system, helping to build a strong heart and lungs that are able to deliver oxygen to muscle’s quicker.
Rugby is one of the best sports for building upper body and core strength, as the tackling and throwing is a constant workout for the arms, shoulders, chest and stomach. It also builds strength in the leg muscles from the running / sprinting and the pushing in scrums and rucks.
Agility is a key part of rugby, with player’s constantly needing to change direction and pace. This regular chance in direction, coupled with twisting and dodging will result in improved flexibility over time.
Sport in general is an excellent way to reduce stress levels, and rugby is no difference. Playing the game releases endorphins, which can improve mood and contribute towards a healthy night’s sleep.
Improved mental state
Following-on from reducing stress levels, rugby is a team sport which gives players a sense of purpose, and a strong sense of belonging. This feeling of being part of a team can have a dramatic impact on a person’s mental state, and physical activity in general has been shown to help fight depression, lethargy and a range of negative mental conditions.
Develops speed and endurance
The cardiovascular workout you get from playing rugby can dramatically improve your endurance over time, and playing regularly can slowly improve your overall speed.
Playing rugby – particularly in a competitive environment – can have a positive impact on your resilience, both mentally and physically. The ability to play through pain and discomfort, or to overcome challenging situations can do wonders for your sense of confidence and your physical levels of resilience.
Improved sense of confidence
We touched on this in the previous point, and it’s worth including as a benefit in its own right. Rugby fosters courage, teamwork, fitness and endurance, the combination of which can deliver an improved sense of self-confidence for players of all ages (and genders).
Rugby is a sport that demands both physical and mental discipline, and that extends to the team ethic as well as individual players. Through participation in a structured training schedule, application of preparation and strategy and coping with the physical demands of the sport, rugby can have a major positive effect on your personal discipline, which can often extend to other elements of your personal and professional life.
Increases bone density
The stress exerted on your bones from playing rugby causes calcium deposits along stress lines, which improves your bone density. In turn, this decreases your risk of developing osteoporosis in later life.