Health effect of exercise football – University of Copenhagen

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02 November 2012

Health effect of exercise football

Background and hypotheses

Inactivity is a risk factor for lifestyle diseases. Despite this, a large proportion of the Danish population is inactive. Exercise football is effective for prevention and treatment of lifestyle diseases because of positive effects on heart and muscle fitness. It has also been shown that protein intake after a training session can improve muscle build-up.

Football training can lead to loss of fat mass and increase of muscle mass, which is essential for both metabolic and muscle health since it is crucial regarding prevention of lifestyle diseases . Football is a motivating form of exercise and regarding the health aspect, a good alternative to other kinds of exercise. Football also has documented positive effects on health as well as social and psychological  parameters. Further, Tthere is a large consumption of sports drinks in sports clubs , but it is unknown whether these have impact on the effect of exercise football.


The aim of this project is to investigate the effect of different sports drinks on health, body composition and physical performance in untrained women and men during a 12-week intervention of exercise football.

Design and methods

The project will be carried out near Copenhagen and Aarhus during summer and autumn 2016. In total, 200 untrained women and men aged 30-50 years are to be recruited. In order to be recruited the participants should not have been engaged in regular exercise for the past 2 years, i.e. should not have taken part in organised sport more than on one regular  day a week. It is of no relevance if the participants have previously played football or not.

The recruited participants will randomly be distributed to one of three groups: 1) Exercise football + sports drink A (n=75); 2) exercise football + sports drink B (n=75); and 3) inactive control group (n=50). In group 1 and 2, the participants have to drink their sports drinks immediately after each training pass, and again just before going to bed.

Exercise football

Exercise football includes training 3 times a week of approx. 60 minutes. The training encompass football specific warm-up and general technique training, where after short games of 5 minutes duration will be played. The standard team size will be 5 players on each team.

Health parameters such as blood pressure, resting heart rate, cardiac fitness, body composition, physical performance, blood sugar concentration, cholesterol concentration and muscular adaptations will be measured in the project.

The project is carried out as collaboration with the Section for Sports Science at the Department of Public Health, Aarhus University. Participants are recruited from the Copenhagen and Aarhus area.

The project is supported by Arla Foods amba.