January 9th 2017
6 a side Football: The Healthiest Sport There Is

“New Year, New Me”. The subject of millions of Internet Memes at this time of year, but if that expensive gym membership you took out on January 1st is already going unused, then you might just be interested in this….

Players who sign up to the 6 a side football leagues that we run, will be given the chance to do way more than score goals and win prizes. They will be reducing their risk of heart and lung disease and diabetes as well as cutting their cholesterol. Those are the findings of more of than 70 studies conducted in the last decade, which suggest that a game of 6 a side is more beneficial to health than swimming or cycling.

The encouraging medical news comes at a time when the Red Cross declared that Britain’s National Health Service is at breaking point, with the Red Cross saying this past weekend that it faced a “humanitarian crisis,” while just before Christmas, the Government’s own official figures declared that 27% of the population was “obese” and 41% were “overweight”.

Studies published in the British Journal Of Sports Medicine, have found that playing a fifteen week season of football – just like the ones we run in the majority of cases – reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight by just over 5lbs, and crucially it concluded that football had the lowest rate of “perceived exertion” out of all the sports and that only running was its equal.

The most recent figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggest that 63% of all deaths are from what is known as non-communicable diseases – exactly the type of illnesses that is averted by a simple game of football at your local astroturf.

But what is really interesting about this, is that these benefits are seen no matter what the age or gender of the participants was, meaning that small-sided football was the most universally beneficial.

All of which is good news for players in our leagues, but it also means that the perception of the leagues needs to change.  All too often a game of a 6 a side is seen as something that people do before going to the pub, but these studies do show that those days are increasingly over.

We are very proud of the community aspect to our league. Sport brings people together in a way that nothing else does and we are thrilled that in so many places around the world our leagues are a real focal point for friendships to both develop and flourish and whilst it has long been our belief that the health benefits were also huge, these studies prove it.

At Leisure Leagues, we have long been conscious of our social responsibilities. As you may know, we give our profits to charities like Cancer Research UK, Blind Children UK and The Dogs Trust as well as an array of good causes. However we are delighted that the leagues themselves are now of such proven benefit.

So when you play in the league this week, you could be doing more long term good to yourself than you realise – even if the result goes the wrong way.

Back to Blog