Whether you are trying to decide which sport is right for you or your kids, hockey might not be one of the first athletic pursuits to jump to your mind. However, in terms of both fitness and fun, not many sports can rival hockey. Here are a few reasons why you should consider pursuing hockey? Whether to get in better shape or just to enjoy yourself.

Fitness: Hockey is great cardiovascular exercise.

The cardio benefits of playing field hockey are enormous. Because of the start-stop nature of the game, you might believe that hockey doesn't have the same cardiovascular benefits of simply going for an extended, non-stop run. However, the fact that hockey players are required to alternate periods of high-intensity running with periods of rest actually delivers better cardiovascular exercise than a non-stop workout. When you repeat alternate intense bursts of exercise with brief moments of rest, you are doing what is called interval training. Long-distance runners do interval work to increase their speed and stamina. On the hockey field, this interval-based exercise results in great cardiovascular exercise with incredible calorie-burning benefits.

hockey london 2012

Fun: The teamwork facet is terrific.

Because hockey is so fast-paced, teams need to learn how to communicate and collaborate like one living, breathing organism in order to succeed. The slightest lapse of concentration can result in a turnover and a goal for the other team. While this factor makes hockey a high-pressure sport, it also adds to the rewarding nature of the game. There are few sports where players have to rely on their teammates as much as they do in hockey. This teamwork facet and the elements of both verbal and non-verbal communication help build near-familial bonds of friendship between players and adds to the drive and fun of the sport.

Fitness: Hockey works your body and your mind.

If you are looking to get physically fit, hockey is a great sport to accomplish the goal. Between the cardio workouts you'll get on the field, the muscles you'll build from the high-intensity interval work, and the calories you'll burn along the way, hockey is a great way to get in better shape. The sport is also more beneficial than most in terms of mental fitness. The fast-paced nature of the sport demands not only physical agility but also mental agility. You need to be able to make decisions and foresee outcomes quickly, all while staying in motion and keeping an eye on the ball. Those requirements help keep your mind sharp, both on and off the field.

hockey field match

Fun: Hockey is easy to learn, but difficult to master.

Young players especially can be discouraged by sports that are difficult to learn. A sport that takes months or years to reach a proficiency necessary for any level of competition isn't fun because the barrier to entry is too high. Field hockey is easy to learn, though, and can easily be taught in the backyard or on a school playground. The basics?the grip, the stance, trapping and dribbling the ball, and shooting?can all be learned in the space of an afternoon. These factors make field hockey an easy game to pick up on, which makes it more fun for beginning players. However, hockey is also a tough sport to master completely, and there is always room for improvement in most areas of the game?from dribbling and shooting to figuring out how to get by defenders. Plus, the more you play, the more endurance, muscle strength, and coordination you'll develop. So while you can have fun with hockey from the first time you pick up a stick, you'll find that the sport only becomes more rewarding as you follow the long path to mastery. On every level, field hockey is a great sport.

Start Your Hockey Journey Today!

Are you looking for an activity to build your muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance? Hockey will do the trick. Are you interested in playing a sport that emphasizes both teamwork and personal improvement? Hockey hits both marks in equal measure. Do you want to burn calories and lose weight? Hockey has been a proven method for doing both. Whether you are after fitness or fun, or perhaps some combination of both, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better sport than hockey.