Posted on Jul 18, 2014, 6 a.m.
Among men, 6 months of twice-weekly recreational soccer may reduce the risk for heart failure as well.
Soccer (known as football outside the US) produces significant changes in body composition and glycemic control in type 2 diabetes patients, and effectively lowers blood pressure in men with high blood pressure. As well, the sport may reduce men’s risk for heart failure. Jans Bangsbo, from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), and colleagues investigated the effects of football training in 21 men with type 2 diabetes and 32 men with high blood pressure aged 30‒60 years with focus on metabolic and cardiovascular changes. The researchers observed that 24 weeks of twice-weekly recreational football training sessions lower blood pressure and improves heart function in men with high blood pressure and men with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, men with type 2 diabetes lost 12 % of their abdominal fat and reduced their blood sugar 20% more than inactive control subjects. As a result, soccer training reduced the risk of developing heart diseases including heart failure and myocardial infarction, and the participants had a reduced need for antidiabetic and antihypertensive medication on completion of the studies. The study authors report that: “football and … improves functional ability and physiological response to submaximal exercise, [and]l additionally elevates maximal aerobic fitness and exhaustive exercise performance.”
T. R. Andersen, J. F. Schmidt, J. J. Nielsen, M. B. Randers, E. Sundstrup, M. D. Jakobsen, L. L. Andersen, C. Suetta, P. Aagaard, J. Bangsbo, P. Krustrup. “Effect of football or strength training on functional ability and physical performance in untrained old men.” Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, Volume 24, Issue S1, August 2014, Pages: 76–85.