Exercise is truly a holistic activity, meaning it impacts your physical, mental strength and social conditions at the same time. Healthier people, who have lower resting heart rates, take longer to be affected by the physical act they’re attempting. Alongside this, healthier people can make better decisions under a state of fatigue and pressure; a vital skill in a sporting environment.

As coaches, we can spend so much time focused on the physical aspects of the game and can overlook the holistic benefits of sport.

Not only can sport improve physical performance but exercise is crucial for the mental and social aspects of our lives

Kickers like Owen Farrell and Jonny Sexton are world class because they train hard on the pitch and in the gym. Their fitness levels allow them to make the right call in games when the pressure is on. An example of fitness having an affect on decision making is a footballer trying to counter attack. At the very last moment due to them being tired, they miss control the ball or make a bad pass. This occurs because they’re spent and they can’t work at maximum capacity as they’re not mentally functioning where they need to be.

In our previous blog (CLICK HERE) we looked to explain the different physical states people reach during exercise. What we explained is that healthier players are further away from ‘sensory shutdown’, which effects fine motor skills reducing their operating efficiency. Increased fitness also reduces the chances of ‘red mist’ occurring, leading to bad decisions being made which can be harmful in a team game such as rugby. Exercise is extremely beneficial in relation to mood improvement and boosting self-esteem. We all should know feeling good about ourselves can be an invaluable aid to combating stress.

For younger players out there, fitness is not just about who is the biggest or strongest. Lowering your resting heart rate through a regular, structured exercise routine helps in the individual moments of stress common in games. 20-30 minutes of cardio training 2/3 times per week will drastically impact your health and performance positively. Furthermore, a healthier cardio system keeps us in a constant state of readiness to deal with high-pressure situations.

When we’re kids, we first take part in sport for two reasons; to make friends and for the love of the game and as we get older we should not lose that sense as they’re integral to sport. Rugby has the ability like most sports to bring people together no matter creed, age or gender – we all love rugby. Social skills are required heavily in life and there’s no better place to build these than on a sports pitch. Key skills like verbal/non-verbal communication, leadership, trust and resilience, all of which are crucial skills can first be learned playing sports.

We hope this blog can help you to understand how training has the ability to be a holistic activity. In order to be great you have to push a little bit further than others are willing to go. This blog is the basecamp to YOUR fitness peak. Hope you’ve found this useful.


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