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Recreational Soccer May Be Effective Treatment For Hypertension

Posted Jun 01 2013 3:00am

boysoccer ACSM Study: Soccer training can improve aerobic fitness, reduce blood pressure

Play in a recreational soccer league? There may be many health benefits associated with the game of soccer, according to research published in the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. This study, in the March edition of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®, shows soccer training can improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and increase aerobic fitness.

“The results of this study show that being physically active through soccer is not only a fun group activity, but can also promote health. Aerobic fitness achieved through soccer training can help improve several aspects of daily life.” said the primary investigator, Peter Krustrup, Ph.D., of the University of Exeter, U.K.

The study design involved a small sample of 33 male participants age 31 to 54 with mild-to-moderate hypertension of which 22 participated in two one-hour sessions of soccer per week. After six months, participants’ health profiles showed encouraging numbers. Average systolic and diastolic blood pressure measures dropped from 151 ± 2 to 139 ± 2 mm Hg and 92 ± 2 to 84 ± 1 mm Hg, respectively, with three out of four having normalized their blood pressure. Average VO2 max increased, and fat mass and resting heart rate were lowered at the conclusion of the study.

According to Dr. Krustrup, findings indicate that recreational soccer may be a good way to improve physical fitness and heart health. Further research is needed to determine if findings in this study apply broadly to the general public. Research on physical activity by ACSM scientists and others has shown that physical activity and exercise can help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic diseases. Federal guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week for adults and an hour a day for children.

- Courtesy of ACSM

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