World Cup fever kicks health goals

Both trials involved middle-aged, overweight men, assigned to either two sessions of recreational soccer training per week over six months or to standard healthy lifestyle advice from their doctor.

The first trial included 12 men with type 2 diabetes who trained for an average of 1.5 times per week for 24 weeks. At the end of the trial period, they had lost on average 1.7kg of body fat and had improved their glycaemic control and their need for medication compared to the nine men in the inactive control group.

The second trial included 20 men with mild to moderate hypertension who trained for an average of 1.7 times per week for 24 weeks. Compared to the 12 inactive controls, the hypertensive soccer players’ blood pressure fell by 10mmHg compared to 5mmHg in the controls.

“The average heart rate during training was higher than 80% of maximum heart rate, and for significant periods it was higher than 90%,” Professor Jens Bangsbo,