First off, some facts.
Did you know that Rugby in Kenya has been around for over a century? The first recorded game of rugby was in 1909 at a time when the game was restricted to whites only and records point to organized competition taking place from the early 1920s. The local game continues to grow in leaps and bounds, there has been no looking back.
But,is talent and passion the only thing that has drawn enthusiasts to the sport? We can’t comprehensively answer that, but what we know for sure is that whether it’s played recreationally or competitively, rugby is a great sport to stay healthy and fit.
Rugby is known to combine hugely diverse range of physical activities. First, a study was done which showed that rugby players can cover 5km in a single match. Secondly, there are various activities in that same single match ranging from standing to walking, to jogging, to sprinting. These activities are intense and they all require unique health benefits.
The above; of course, depend on the position that you play where as a scrum, for instance; you will have to incorporate both aerobic activity like jogging with anaerobic exercise.
Rugby is also a ‘whole body’ sport that exercises all muscle groups. E.g.; Running and Sprinting exercises the lower body while throwing the ball and tackling exercises the upper body. It is therefore a sport that offers a complete exercise regime.That notwithstanding, there are some general and specific benefits of the sport. Here are 10;
- Builds Confidence- Rugby has been known as the ultimate character building sport. This is because it fosters togetherness, builds team spirit and effort, and courage. Hence, it leads to an increased self-respect and confidence in one’s self because one feels part of a team since they contribute in one way or another.
- Builds Discipline- The sense of team spirit and togetherness automatically builds one’s discipline since it requires a high degree of preparation. Preparation requires one to train and play in a regular schedule which in turn develops mental skills of self-control and discipline.
- Reduces Stress – As is with any other sport, the release of endorphins that happens when one is active helps to lift one’s mood and aids in better sleep patterns. When there are triumphs in challenging situation on field, it helps one build resilience to stress which as a result leads to one being able to tackle problems off the field as well.
- Develops Speed and Endurance – This comes as a result of regular training which increases your running speed and endurance which is required on pitch.
- Weight Management – We have mentioned how rugby offers a complete exercise regime. The diverse range of exercises and training required helps one to lose weight as well as tone up.
- Cardiovascular Health – The runs, throws, tackles, scrums, and sprints encourage the heart and lungs to function more effectively. Studies have been carried out between rugby players vs non-rugby players which found out that the players experienced lower pulse rates than those not taking part in regular physical activity. It is safe to say, therefore, that rugby helps to maintain a healthy heart and healthy pulse rates.
- Improves mental state – The sport requires playing as part of a team which in turn the sense of camaraderie with team mates helps individuals move towards a positive frame of mind.
- Builds Strength – The tackling and throwing helps boost upper body strength since it requires muscular strength to do so. Leg muscles are also built through running and battling in scrums. These lead to strong arms and legs.
- Improves Flexibility –The sport requires sudden change in direction and pace of the feet and hands. This constant twisting and sudden dodging can also help with flexibility.
- Helps build resilience – The ability to persevere through pain and adversity builds is a skill developed in the field and which is also applied off the field in real life situations.
If you are looking for a new sport that offers a wide variety of health benefits, then rugby is just the sport for you!