Sidney Crosby #87 of Team Canada warms up prior to playing Team Czech Republic during the World Cup of Hockey on September 17, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Without a doubt, playing sports of any kind is beneficial when it comes to keeping you physically fit and healthy. But hockey has benefits that go beyond the simple cardio that you can get from many other sports.

Men especially can benefit from playing hockey, as they have a different physical makeup than women do and different requirements to keep them active any healthy. This is why every man should play hockey.

Conditioning Requirements

To begin with, hockey has different conditioning requirements than other sports do. Sure, playing hockey requires a certain investment as you need to buy hockey skates, stick, helmet, gloves, and full protective gear. It is a full-body activity that will put all of your muscles to use. You will develop stronger and more defined muscles the more that you play it. From your quadriceps and hamstrings to calves and hips, your lower body gets a serious workout just skating. Hockey Pursuits reviewed best hockey skates that will help you get the most out of your skating routine and more importantly they will move you game to the next level.

Then you add in your upper body, including your forearms, triceps, shoulders and core, and you get an incredible, whole body workout.

Hockey also requires you to improve your reflexes and hand-eye coordination. You have to move your eyes, feet, and hands quickly as the game changes and goes on. Your reactions have to happen within a split second in order to be effective. These skills will bleed over into other areas of your life as well, helping your reflexes in activities that you do off the ice.

Release Stress

If you have a regular day job, having hockey to look forward to in the evening or on the weekends can be an incredible stress-reliever. Any tension that you might experience in your life can be reduced on the ice. You can skate out your stress while focusing on the sport itself. Hockey, being a contact sport, means that you will occasionally take some hits on the ice. But that also means you might be dealing out a few of your own. Not only does this limit the amount of aggression that happens out of play, but it also can reduce your individual aggression as well, improving your state-of-mind.

Stress has been shown to increase risk of conditions like heart disease. Healthy outlets like hockey can not only keep your heart healthy, but it can also reduce your risk of developing other life-threatening conditions while keeping your quality of life up. Hockey naturally releases endorphins, giving your brain a positive sense of accomplishment and even a certain level of euphoria, improving your outlook and even helping keep your emotions under control.

Beneficial as you age

Hockey is also a sport that you can play well into your golden years. While other sports, such as rugby, soccer, and even basketball, become more challenging as you age, hockey does not have the same drawbacks. Hockey does not have the impact on your joints that you experience with other contact sports. Because it is skating and not running and jumping, your body is not going to go through the same wear and tear as you could get with other sports.

You are only as young as you feel. Continuing to play and enjoy hockey as you age will keep you physically agile, continue to build important relationships, and help you keep your stress level down, all of which will contribute not just to your longevity, but also your quality of life.

If you have not started to play hockey, it is never too late to enjoy the greatest sport on Earth. Get started today and take in all of the wonderful benefits it has to offer.

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