When it comes to physical fitness, soccer players are some of the most in-shape athletes on the planet. The nature of the game demands them to be running, or at least on the move, for two 45-minute periods (or even more if a game goes into overtime). By the end of the game, they’ll have run several miles. Naturally, playing soccer burns torches calories and improves overall cardiovascular health. By playing soccer, you can reduce body fat, increase stamina, boost strength and muscle tone, enhance the strength of your bones and coordinate your movements better.
While some people are out on the world’s pitches playing soccer, others are betting on it. You can place bets by going into a physical betting establishment, such as a sportsbook or even a casino, or take the more convenient approach of betting at an online sportsbook or casino. Soccer isn’t the only sport you can bet on that produces incredibly fit athletes, however. Below are five more sports that develop peak physical fitness in athletes.
You’ve seen the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, the Vuelta de España and other grueling cycling events and the long distances the cyclists have to cover. The good news is you don’t have to cycle hundreds and hundreds of kilometers like the athletes do to reap the health and fitness benefits cycling offers you. Just two to four hours of cycling per week can place you on the track to better health.
Cycling is good for strength, stamina and aerobic fitness, and calls upon major muscle groups as you pedal, giving your body a full workout. It’s especially good for cardiovascular health. Regular cycling improves the heart, lungs and circulation, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Water polo combines teamwork and strategy with the toning benefits of swimming. Players come in different shapes and sizes, due to the position or role they play in their team, but the benefits of playing are common to all.
Water polo tones the muscles, especially the ones in the legs, thanks to the eggbeater kick that players perform while playing. Playing this sport builds stamina because it’s high paced and the players are constantly swimming in a manner that equates to interval training, which entails intense bursts of speed followed by less intense spells. Water polo also works the core because of all the twists, turns and throws, and, of course, all the throwing, jostling, sprinting and kicking means that players burn lots of calories during matches.
Boxing tests both the physical and mental stamina of athletes, who go up to 12 three-minute rounds moving around the ring with speedy footwork and throwing hard, fast, precisely aimed punches. All the while, they’re dodging the punches of their opponent, who is trying their level best to knock them out. This effort is draining and takes high levels of fitness.
Boxing builds incredible endurance as a result of exercises and practices such as hitting the punchbag, shadow boxing and practicing technique, as well as the classic boxing exercise of jumping a skipping rope. Boxing builds muscle because, as well as using free weights, athletes undertake exercises using their body weight, such as squats, push-ups, pull-ups and burpees. The demanding workouts boxers perform leaves them shredded and sporting solidly carved abdominal muscles.
Mixed martial arts (MMA)
Along with bodybuilders, MMA fighters have some of the lowest body fat percentages around. Whereas the low body fat percentage of bodybuilders comes down to their diet, the training of MMA fighters is what contributes to their leanness and develops exceptional conditioning and endurance.
Essentially, MMA is a hybrid of different martial arts, including boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu jitsu and kickboxing. To become skilled fighters, MMA athletes must become proficient in several disciplines and aspects of fitness: endurance, durability, strength, hand-eye coordination, flexibility and agility. This sees them engaging in tough but efficient training sessions. For instance, they’ll burn upwards of 800 calories in a one-hour boxing workout. Impressively, MMA artists will combine boxing and wrestling workouts training in a single session.
American football is a contact sport and sees the players take multiple hits every game. They need to be in fantastic shape to be able to handle this harsh punishment, and their chiseled physiques are a sign of their high level of physical fitness. American football players need to have comprehensive fitness to play professional football successfully, so they follow a diverse training program. They weight train to build strong muscles. They perform high-intensity drills for speed, and they work heavily on their cardiovascular fitness. They also practice a lot with the ball to develop coordination, and practice reaction drills to increase their response times.
The sports above produce amazing athletes who display elite levels of fitness. Other sports in which the athletes are impressively fit include badminton, rugby 7s, gymnastics, rugby league and tennis.