University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Football lowers blood pressure risk

If you are an inactive man with high blood pressure, soccer is better for your health than jogging or weightlifting. This is according to a new University of Copenhagen study

The study shows that inactive men who played soccer twice a week for three months saw a big drop in blood pressure, resting pulse rate and body fat percentage. This is according to a University of Copenhagen press release.

Led by Professors Peter Krustrup and Jens Bangsbo from Department of Exercise and Sports Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, 50 researchers from seven countries studied the physical, psychological and social aspects of soccer.

Versatile and intense

Project leader and associate professor at the University of Copenhagen Peter Krustrup summarises the results:

»Our research shows that soccer is a versatile and intense form of exercise that provides a positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors in a large group of untrained adult men and women«.

»Based on the results, soccer can be recommended as part of the treatment for high blood pressure and as broad-spectred prevention of cardiovascular diseases,« he continues.

Parallel experiments on both women and men demonstrate that a regular game of soccer affects numerous cardiovascular risk factors such as maximal oxygen uptake, heart function, elasticity of the vascular system, blood pressure, cholesterol and fat mass far more than strength training and as much as, perhaps more than, running.

Small games, big gains

Each of the experiments were controlled randomised studies where the soccer groups were compared to other exercise groups and inactive controls.

When untrained children, teens, adults and older people play soccer, their pulse rate remains high and they perform multiple intense actions like sprints, turns, kicks and tackles.

»Our analyses also showed that the pulse rate and activity profile is the same in small-sided games where only 4, 6, 8 or 14 people play. In other words, it is very easy to obtain a combination of cardio and strength training with soccer,« concludes Krustrup.

Tests with diabetics

The researchers plan to examine the effect of soccer on other patient groups such as people with diabetes II and cancer. They are also planning a follow-up study of the long-term effects of soccer on high blood pressure and preliminary stages of osteoporosis.