Forecheck, backcheck, health check: the benefits of playing recreational ice hockey for adults in Canada
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More than 1 million Canadian adults play recreational ice hockey. Compared to elite players, very little is known about the physical and health characteristics of people who play the game for fun. Analyzing data from Statistics Canada's 2011/12 Canadian Community Health Survey, the paper found that there is an association between physically active males age 35 or over who play ice hockey regularly (at least once a week) and enhanced health more so than other physically active males. While these players are larger in body size, they have significantly lower rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease and report significantly higher rates of self-assessed health. Given the potential health benefits associated with this high intensity sport, the paper discusses ways in which participation can be promoted among less physically active adults and people who are new to the game or who have historically lower levels of participation including women and recent immigrants. Finally, the paper argues that compared to the very high costs associated with child and youth hockey, participation in adult recreational ice hockey is quite affordable.
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