09 November 2012

Elderly and teamsports - health effects

It is well-known that aging involves a loss of muscle mass and a drop in motor control, which accelerates after the age of 65. These changes can bring significant restrictions to daily activities, such as climbing stairs or standing up from a chair, which contribute to a further loss of independence and greater inactivity. All in all, this can lead to an increased risk for cardiovascular and musculoskeltal disorders, including high blood pressure, Type II diabetes and osteoporosis.

Newer studies show that recreational soccer among the elderly is an effective training stimulus for both short and long-term improvements of various cardiovascular variables, such as maximal oxygen intake and blood pressure, as well as musculoskeletal variables such as muscle growth, muscle strength, balance and bone density. Studies have also shown that regular soccer players over 65 years of age have faster development rates in strength and balance compared with non-players in the same age group.

The overall goal of the project is to evaluate to what extent various types of team sports are feasible and health promoting for the elderly. Specific physiological changes among the participants will be evaluated.

Study 1: Soccer and strength training among 65-75 year old men.

60 untrained men, aged 65-75 years, are participating in a 12-month intervention program. They are divided into three groups: soccer training, strength training and a control group. Twenty professional soccer players from the same age group will also be recruited.

Study 2: The health effects of volleyball and power-walking for postmenopausal women with a high risk for osteoporosis.

60 postmenopausal women aged 55-65 with an increased risk of osteoporosis will be recruited. They will be divided into three groups: two training groups, one with ”Veteran Volleyball”, one with power-walking, and a third control group.