The Rugby World Cup starts tonight and so we thought what better way to celebrate its arrival than a countdown of just why exactly rugby is so good for you. From physical benefits to psychological and social ones, rugby can offer many benefits to those who play for both on and off the pitch.
7. Rugby is suitable for everyone
Whether playing socially or competitively neither age, sex nor gender is a barrier to this awesome sport and it really can be played by anyone! Sure, rugby is usually seen as a contact sport, but tackling is only introduced if you want it to be and many just decide to simply play touch rugby, no tackling, less risk of injury but still great fun. There is also a growing proportion of females getting involved in the sport with over 1 million now involved in playing rugby across the world! Male, female, old or young, rugby can be a great game for everyone to take part in.
6. Rugby builds discipline
Rugby requires structured training, control and self-discipline all of which are great traits to have in rugby as well as off the pitch. Goal setting, working within a team, sticking to a regular schedule and being physically fit are all great characteristics to build as a child and take into adult life and the world of work.
5. Rugby is a great stress buster!
Long term stress can lead to insomnia and stomach problems and some research has even linked prolonged stress to cancer and diabetes. Team games such as rugby have been shown as a means of reducing stress both through an outlet for your frustrations, as well as the exercises releasing feel good hormones endorphins to improve your mood. Playing a great game of rugby win or lose can take your mind off any stresses off the pitch, let you clear your head and get some fresh air as well as a giving you a release of feel good endorphins through exercise.
4. Rugby can ease illnesses such as depression
Sport, in general, has been shown to have a positive effect on mental health, helping with depression and anxiety. While rugby isn’t a singular solution for individuals with mental health issues, it does give participants a sense of purpose and belonging to a team that might be lacking in their life. Getting the win, having a hard workout with fellow team mates, and generally being part of the group can help an individual fit into a more positive frame of mind, provide a support network and physical fitness can aid in any mental health treatment regime.
3. Cardiovascular health
Rugby is a great cardiovascular workout, simple as! It can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of disease and generally improve your levels of fitness. Through running, throwing, tackling and sprinting to the try line your cardiovascular ability shoots through the roof meaning the lungs and heart work more efficiently leading to general health improvements! It’s been estimated that professional rugby players can run up to 20km during a game! That’s a lot of fitness and a lot of calories burnt!
2. Muscular endurance
As well as improving the cardiovascular system, rugby can also improve your muscular endurance. Rugby training is focussed around explosive power such as is found in sprinters meaning that rugby can be a great way to strip fat and develop lean muscle. Add the element of tackling and powering through in the scrum and you have a full body workout every time you train or play a game of rugby. For low body fat and a full body workout, rugby is a sure go to!
1. The social aspect
Great physical fitness is important and a benefit of playing regular rugby but one of the main reasons people decide to take up rugby is the social side and the friends you make. This can be greatly beneficial for both your mental and physical health. As already touched upon, having a strong support network and a group of friends you play rugby with can be great for your mental health, but it’s always more fun to work out in a group with people and rugby also provides this.
To sum up
The benefits of rugby are many and varied from improved mental health to improved physical fitness and social life. Through playing a sport such as rugby, you can reduce stress, feel better about yourself through improved fitness, and become part of a group of friends as a support network. Both mental and physical health can be improved through rugby and maybe watching the Rugby World Cup when it begins on Friday will encourage you to lace up your trainers and go and give this great sport a go, whatever your level is!