Andrew Clark - Football Federation Australia’s High Performance Co-ordinator (Sports Science) - explains why it’s so important to maintain physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic and how you can easily do it like Socceroos & Westfield Matildas.
The Socceroos & Westfield Matildas – just like everyone across Australia and the world – are being faced with the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic and the isolation and social distancing requirements that come with it.
However, it is more critical than ever for all people – professional footballers included - to maintain physical activity due to the positive impact it has on the immune system, mental health and overall physical wellbeing.
So, how much physical activity does everyone need? It is really quite simple.
According to the Department of Health and SportAus, Australian kids should be aiming for 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day (#getyour60) and adults should aim for 30 minutes (#findyour30).
As lovers of football, whether you are six or 60 years old it is easy for kids to #getyour60 and adults to #findyour30 when we add up lots of small bouts of activity at home during the day.
All you need to do is use the FFA’s Skills Hub and the #PlayAtHomeChallenge to hit your targets of 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity.
This can be as simple as: 15 minutes of juggling in the morning, 15 minutes of the weekly #PlayAtHomeChallenge at lunch time, and 30 minutes of football tennis with a sibling at home in the afternoon.
Click here to visit the FFA Skills Hub and check out 15 different football skills to try!
These activities will not only put you on your way to better health, but also sharpen those skills and help you learn a few new tricks along the way that you’ll be able to utilise on the field.
The same physical activity requirements apply to our Westfield Matildas and Socceroos who are continually looking to improve their skills, stay fit and keep up their exercise levels every day.
For example, Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury is well set up at home with a spin bike, rower and some gym equipment in his lounge room.
Sainsbury is going hard with cardio and strength training programs – especially when you add in chasing his one-year-old boy around the apartment.
Westfield Matildas forward Caitlin Foord is currently living alone in London and playing for Arsenal FC and with minimal equipment is completing a program of home-based circuits, strength training and short periods of independent running in the local park.
Over in Denmark, Australia U-23’s defender Alex Gersbach has created a home gym, and combined with running sessions at his local athletics track, is keeping training hard and focussed on the future.
The same goes for Socceroos defender Bailey Wright, who recently underwent ankle surgery and has moved all his rehabilitation to his home environment, but is committed to exiting this period fit and ready to play football again.
At the FFA, whether you are just starting out in football, or are a Westfield Matilda or Socceroo we want you to have fun, stay safe, stay active and return to the park in top shape to play the game we all love.
In the weeks to come we will talk about strengthening your body during this period with the Football Federation Australia’s #getset program.
For more information on the benefits of keeping moving for general health during this period of isolation, check out:
- The Department of Health’s: Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines
- And SportAus’ #findyour30 campaign
And don't forget to visit FFA's Skill Hubs to stay connected with the Football community whilst ensuring both your physical and mental wellbeing stay strong.