Fancy a quick kickabout this evening or over the weekend? In case you weren’t planning on it, you should. According to Reuters, lacing up for a game of soccer not only gives a boost to your overall health, it’s considered as effective as medication.
A research team published a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which found that soccer (football) is beneficial to health in general, as well as an effective method in getting people to socialise and remain motivated in tasks.
People who participate in soccer had comparably better fitness and health compared to their sedentary counterparts, and playing the sport can actually improve high blood pressure, cholesterol, and lower heart rates.
Senior study author Peter Krustrup, a professor of sport and health sciences at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, said that “[s]occer training is an effective broad-spectrum prevention and treatment of lifestyle diseases for participants across the lifespan, independent of age, gender, fitness level or soccer skills.”
“Altogether, comprehensive research shows that soccer is medicine, soccer is for almost all and soccer is for life,” Krustrup said.
In the study, researchers found that people who played soccer had an overall decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which is the amount of pressure is placed against the arteries each time the heart pumps and rests respectively.
“Bad” LDL cholesterol was also lowered along with resting heart rates, and the sport has been found to be as effective as cardiovascular activity like running or a dance class like Zumba.
Andre Seabra, director of the Portugal Football School, Federacao Portuguesa de Futebol and a sports professor at the University of Porto, has suggested that soccer is a great exercise option to have, and is definitely a good alternative to other common forms of exercise.
“The evidence of health benefits combined with the fact that football is very popular, cheap and easy to implement, and has very simple rules, are more than enough reasons for the population to choose to practice it,” said Seabra.
By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer