University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Football the way to women’s fitness

New University of Copenhagen study shows that, for women, soccer is a better workout than running

Women who play soccer get much healthier than women who run. This is according to a study by 30 scientists from the University of Copenhagen (U of C) who have investigated the physiological, sociological and psychological aspects of women’s soccer in comparison to running, over a period of two years.

As well as the health benefits, the women who played football became more confident and found themselves met with more respect at work and at home, the study shows.

It also reveals that, contrary to common assumption, the flexibility of running as exercise actually makes it harder to stick to for most women than soccer, which requires a fixed time and place.

Footballers focus on the game

»What is really interesting is that the soccer players differed from the runners in their motivation. The runners were motivated by the idea of getting in shape and improving health. But the soccer players focused on the game itself and were motivated by the social interaction and by having fun with others. As it turns out, the soccer players got in better shape than the runners,« says Laila Ottesen, Associate Professor at the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences.

The research, which included 100 untrained adult pre-menopausal women, was led by Associate Professor Peter Krustrup of the U of C’s Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences.

EUR 200 million for women’s sport

The findings were presented 2 October at an event at the City Hall Square. Prorector Lykke Friis and Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard were present at the event, which was aimed at increasing awareness about women’s sports and particularly soccer, an undeniably male-dominated sport.

»Everything bought and made is for males,« says entrepreneur Mårten Hedlund. He has approached promoting women sports as a businessman and injected EUR 200 million into a vast research, development and training centre for that purpose.