Soccer, or football as it is called in most of the world outside America, is a fantastic sport to play when you’re looking to engage in some physical activity. While it has not always been the most popular sport in the United States, recent data has shown that more than 14 million young people attend summertime programs dedicated to soccer. Whether you’re someone who plays for the competition or simply to get a bit of exercise, giving it your all requires that you take care of your body in the most fitting ways.

Staying in shape is usually the most difficult for people during the off season. If you want to keep your body fit and ready all winter long, take a moment to consider these tips for how to remain in the best possible shape.

Create a Routine

Any workout requires consistency and dedication in order to produce results. During the winter, when playing soccer outdoors is out of the question, many people become lax with their physical habits. While indoor soccer is a popular alternative when the weather is chilly, a vast majority of people only play in the summer. This means the trick to staying in shape is finding a way to create a routine when you are not actively playing. It might seem simple, but this can often prove to be the most challenging step for many.

Starting a routine is all about repetition. Pick a few days out of the week for physical fitness and commit to those days. Missing even one of the workouts you have scheduled for yourself is enough to make you get too relaxed and start skipping more. Establish your routine and stick with it to see tangible results down the line.

Prep Your Muscles 

Jumping right into a soccer game without warming up is considered foolish. The same is true of any workout you attempt. In the winter, cold temperatures tend to make the muscles tighter and less flexible. If you dive into a workout without prepping your muscles for the experience, you could cause an avoidable injury to yourself. A workout requires a period of warming up, so learn what works best for your body. For some people this is basic stretching, while others find a little yoga or running can be useful tactics.

Stretching is important in all workouts. Stretching increases your overall flexibility, which helps you to perform your best and reduce the odds of an injury. It is best to stretch for roughly 15 minutes before each of your workouts, but this will vary depending on your needs, the weather, and what you will be doing while exercising. On top of stretching, you could also add the thrive experience to your workout to help boost your energy levels. 

The Core Is Everything

Soccer requires a lot of endurance, which means you definitely want to dedicate a good amount of time to working out your core. The muscles in your core support a majority of soccer demands. Exercising these groups helps to provide you with more control over the ball by increasing the accuracy of your footwork. It also can help with balance, which can become tricky as you play more intense games. 

Standard core workouts include planks and sit-ups. Still, you’ll want to take this a bit farther. Explore the many different types of crunches out there and start playing around with each. Figuring out the best workout for your core will come down to what you feel is producing the best results.  

Work the Ball

Obviously, the ball is a key component in any soccer experience. If you’re going to prep your body during the off season, you need to kick around the ball during your workout. While there are countless ways to work the ball on your own, you might want to bring a friend or teammate into the mix. This will help you work on passing and other key moves related to winning games.

No matter what exercises you decide to explore, dedicating yourself to a routine is a great way to see the best results from your efforts. Take your time, establish a workout that you feel good about, and get ready to play your best next season.