Team sports and lifestyle diseases – University of Copenhagen

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03 November 2012

Team sports and lifestyle diseases

Poor physical condition as a result of a physically inactive lifestyle is a significant factor in the rising incidence of cardiovascular diseases and musculoskeletal problems. It is well documented that lack of a physical active lifestyle is an independent indicator of mortality for patients with Type II diabetes. In relation to Type II diabetes it is clear that short-term intervention programmes focused on physical activity are a decisive factor in treatment along with dietary counselling and medication. The optimal type of exercise and optimal intensity has not yet been determined. Physical activity is also seen as an important factor in the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure.

Studies show that aerobic high-intensity training is more effective than moderately intense continuous training in relation to the improvement of heart function, maximum oxygen intake, oxygen intake in muscles and risk factors for metabolic syndrome in healthy as men as well as patients with high blood pressure and severe obesity. Furthermore, recreational soccer training creates more wide-spectrum effects than traditional activities, such as running and strength training. Regular recreational soccer training also reduces blood pressure in men and women with normal blood pressure.

Another pilot study with middle-aged men with mild to moderately elevated blood pressure showed that recreational short-term soccer training is more effective at reducing blood pressure than traditional treatment. It will be extremely interesting to investigate the exercise and health effects of team sports in patients with diabetes and/or elevated blood pressure.

Study 1: Soccer as a treatment for Type II diabetes among middle-aged men

In order to examine the effects of soccer training on the heart and metabolism, men aged 35-60 with Type II diabetes will be recruited. The men will be divided into two groups, one that plays soccer twice a week for an hour at a time, and a control group. The short-term intervention program will last 24 weeks.

Study 2: Ball game training as a treatment for elevated blood pressure in middle-aged women and men

The overall goal is to investigate the effects of regular floorball and soccer training on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors for middle-aged men and women with mildly elevated blood pressure.

Study 2A involves inactive post-menopausal women (50-65 years) with mild to moderately elevated blood pressure, who are divided into a floorball training group (3x60 minutes per week) and a group which receives advice about physical activity and diet along with regular blood pressure measuring. The short-term intervention program will last 24 weeks.

Study 2B consists of inactive men 35-55 years of age with mild to moderately elevated blood pressure. They are divided into a soccer-training group (3x30 minutes per week) and a group that receives health-promoting advice about exercise and diet, as well as regular blood pressure measurements. The short-term intervention program will last 24 weeks.