|Soccer! For Young & Old, Heart & Bones, Blood Sugar & Body Fat Now & Beyond World Cup 2012|
But enough of the prelude, let's take a look at what I have to report, here: Schmidt et al. present the amazing cardiovascular adaptations they observed in response to 4 and 12 months of football or strength training in 65- to 75-year-old untrained men.
The study was conducted at the Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health of the University of Copenhagen and involved, as you would have guessed, 26 untrained men (age: 68.2 ± 3.2 years). The guys were randomized to football training (FTG; n = 9), strength training (STG; n = 9), or control (CG; n = 8).
Football (soccer), older hearts will love it!
|Maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max; L/min) and resting heart rate (RHR; bpm) in elderly healthy 65- to 75-yearold men at baseline, after 4 & 12 months of football training (FTG), strength training (STG), and control (CG) - Schmidt. 2014|
- increases in left ventricular diastolic diameter +8%
- increases in end-diastolic volume +21%
- increases in ventricular mass index +18%
In conjunction with the football-exclusive increases in diastolic mitral inflow (E/A) ratio and peak early diastolic velocity (E') improved (25% and 12%, respectively), your 3x1h of training may thus be better spend on football than on resistance training if your main goal is to improve your VO2max and kick heart disease's ass.
If we look at the benefits the older guys in the Schmidt study derived from their soccer training it can hardly be surprising that Anderson et al. (2014a) report similarly "hearty" benefits in 31 untrained males with mild-to-moderate hypertension who were randomized 2:1 to a football training group (n = 20) and a control group receiving traditional recommendations on healthy lifestyle (n = 11).
While the football group exhibited significant (P < 0.05) changes in cardiac dimensions and function after just 3 months similar to those in the Schmidt study, as well as significant reduction in arterial blood pressure, the results in the "traditional take this *bs* advice" group were mediocre tat best. Consequently, the researchers conclude that even in the short term (3-6 months)...
"football training improves LV diastolic function in untrained men with mild-to-moderate arterial hypertension [and] improve longitudinal systolic function of both ventricles." (Anderson. 2014a)Now, SuppVersity readers are not generally hypertensive, and I am gathering that the few highly appreciated "best agers" in my readership are also in the minority. Against that background it's worth mentioning that the heart is not the only part of your body that will benefit from soccer practices - your bones will, too. Ok, I see you laughin' cause you're hittin' the weights, regularly, but what would you say if I told you that ...
"4 months of recreational football for elderly men had an osteogenic effect, which was further developed after 12 months, whereas resistance training had no effect." (Helge. 2014)I see, I've got your attention, now! Well, the authors, again researchers from the Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health speculate that the anabolic response may be due to increased bone turnover, especially improved bone formation which was obviously promoted to a greater extent in those 9 of the initially 26 healthy sedentary men (age 68.2 ± 3.2 years) who had been randomized to the football (F; n = 9) and not the resistance training (R; n = 9) group - and that despite the fact that both trained two to three times weekly for a total of 45–60 min training. Playing soccer is good for your health, watching it... well, watching it can increase your risk of being hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction minimally (+1%; cf. Barone-Adesi. 2010), unless, of course, your team wins! During the 1998 World Cup, which was won by France, the myocardial infarction risk of French men was actually reduced by 35% (Berthier. 2003)