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Recreational Soccer May Be Effective Treatment for Hypertension

by Anne Spencer | Feb 19, 2013

For immediate release
February 19, 2012

 

Journalists: For a PDF of the study or to reach the author or another expert, contact:
Annie Spencer (317) 637-9200, ext. 133 (aspencer@acsm.org)
Lauren Johnson (317) 637-9200, ext. 175 (ljohnson@acsm.org)

Recreational Soccer May Be Effective Treatment for Hypertension

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

INDIANAPOLIS – 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.

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The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 50,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® is the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, and is available from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins at 1-800-638-6423. For a complete copy of the research paper (Vol. 45, No. 3, pp: 553-560) or to speak with a leading sports medicine expert on the topic, contact the Department of Communications and Public Information at 317-637-9200 ext. 133. Visit ACSM online at www.acsm.org.

The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine.

The American College of Sports Medicine supports the 10 Criteria for Responsible Health Reporting as articulated by Health News Review.

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