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Recreational soccer is an effective health promoting activity for untrained men
  1. Peter Krustrup (pkrustrup{at}ifi.ku.dk)
  1. Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Section of Human Physiolgy, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
    1. Jens J Nielsen (jjnielsen{at}ifi.ku.dk)
    1. Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Section of Human Physiolgy, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
      1. Birgitte Krustrup (bkrustrup{at}ifi.ku.dk)
      1. Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Section of Human Physiolgy, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
        1. Jesper F Christensen (jesper.sporten{at}hip.dk)
        1. Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Section of Human Physiolgy, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
          1. Henrik Pedersen (hbop42{at}hotmail.com)
          1. Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Section of Human Physiolgy, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
            1. Morten B Randers (mbranders{at}ifi.ku.dk)
            1. Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Section of Human Physiolgy, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
              1. Per Aagaard (p.aagaard{at}mfi.ku.dk)
              1. Bispebjerg University Hospital, Denmark
                1. Anne-Marie Petersen (anne.marie.00.petersen{at}rh.regionh.dk)
                1. Rigshospitalet, M-7641, Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre, Denmark
                  1. Lars Nybo (lnnielsen{at}ifi.ku.dk)
                  1. Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Section of Human Physiolgy, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
                    1. Jens Bangsbo (jbangsbo{at}ifi.ku.dk)
                    1. Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Section of Human Physiolgy, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

                      Abstract

                      To examine the effects of regular participation in recreational soccer on health profile, 38 healthy untrained Danish males aged 20-43 years were randomised into a soccer group (SO; n=14), a running group (RU; n=13) and a control group (CO; n=11). Training was performed for one hour two-three times per week for 12 weeks; at an average heart rate of 82±2 and 82±1% (±SEM) of HRmax for SO and RU, respectively. During the 12-week period, maximal oxygen uptake increased (P<0.05) by 13±3% and 8±3% in SO and RU, respectively. In SO, systolic and diastolic blood pressure was reduced (P<0.05) from 132±2 to 123±3 mmHg and from 77±2 to 72±2 mmHg, respectively, after 12 weeks, with similar decreases observed for RU. After the 12 wks of training, fat mass was 3.0% (2.7±0.6 kg) and 1.8% (1.8±0.4 kg) lower (P<0.05) for SO and RU, respectively. Only SO had an increase in lean body mass (1.7±0.4 kg, P<0.05), an increase in lower extremity bone mass (41±8 g, P<0.05), a decrease in LDL-cholesterol (2.7±0.2 to 2.3±0.2 mM; P<0.05) and an increase (P<0.05) in fat oxidation during running at 9.5 km/h. The number of capillaries per muscle fibre was 22±4% and 16±6% higher (P<0.05) in SO and RU, respectively, after 12 weeks. No changes in any of the measured variables were observed for CO. In conclusion, participation in regular recreational soccer training, organised as small-sided drills, has significant beneficial effects on health profile and physical capacity for untrained men, and in some aspects it is superior to frequent moderate intensity running.

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