Being aware of your health when playing soccer

The excitement of the 2014 FIFA World Cup is being felt all over the world, and as one of our favorite pastimes, us Hispanics are ready to celebrate the world cup with friends and families.

Soccer is not only entertaining for all age groups, but it also offers health benefits to those who play it. According to the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), practicing the sport helps to improve the health of both young players and old, preventing diseases such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.

During a match, players are constantly walking, jogging, or running, which provides them with aerobic exercise. Additionally, this sport helps to increase muscle mass, improve posture, and strengthen the bones.

When we take part in this great world event by watching the matches at home, restaurants, or other meeting places, playing soccer with friends, or joining an intramural soccer team, there are several things we should be aware of to celebrate it in a healthy way.

1. Keeping a healthy nutrition There is nothing more fun than getting together with friends to watch our favorite sports. However, during these gatherings the level of physical inactivity is at its minimum and we are more focused on sitting down and eating snacks. “It is important to offer healthy food choices during these get-togethers that complement a healthy diet, such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts,” said Russ Bennett, vice-president of Latino Health Solutions from UnitedHealthcare.

2. Remember to hydrate When we play soccer, or any other sport, it is important to keep hydrated due to the amount of water loss that our body experiences through sweating. According to FIFA, keeping yourself hydrated during a soccer match helps prolong the individual’s resistance and, for this reason, it is important to establish water breaks during practices and offer water to players during warm-up and half time.

3. Don’t overdo it Even though playing soccer can be fun, it is important to be aware of how much physical activity your body can take. These levels vary according to the individual, which is why each person should know their resistance. Exaggerating in the amount of exercise that we do can result in lesions that may keep us from practicing the sport in the future.

4. Protect yourself from the sun If your team decides to play outdoors, remember to use sunblock to prevent skin cancer. “Many Hispanics work many hours under the sun,” said Raul Berrios, president of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance (NHLA). “That’s why they believe they are not at risk. The truth is that it is important for them to use sunblock every day to protect themselves, especially if they spend additional time practicing an outdoor sport.”

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