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Soccer reduces risk of falls and bone fractures
Date:3/3/2010

The observed improvements in bone mineral density, strength and postural balance due to recreational soccer are of particularly interest for a large group of women but also for elderly men, says project leader Associate Professor Peter Krustrup, University of Copenhagen, and continues "It is well known that the risk of falls and fractures increases with age as a result of weaker bones, poorer balance and attenuated ability to trigger rapid muscle force, but the present results suggest that soccer - and possibly other ball games - is an effective training method to reduce bone weakening that comes with increasing age".

Better bones from soccer than from running

A 14-week study in which women aged 20-47 years trained soccer twice a week showed marked increases in bone density in the left and right tibia. Furthermore, soccer training showed an elevated mass of the calf muscle, greater muscle strength, and an improved balance. A 16-months training intervention for the same subject group showed that prolonged soccer training for untrained premenopausal women elevates whole-body bone mineral density. The women who participated in the study had never played soccer before, implying that all can benefit from soccer. Interestingly the short- and long-term training effects on bone mineral density were greater for the soccer players than for a similar group of runners and an inactive control group.

- "During soccer training and games, the players perform many sprints, turns, kicks and tackles. This combination of actions help achieve a variable bone impact that appears to provide a better stimulus to bone mineralisation than running", explains project leader Peter Krustrup.

Little training required

Small-sided soccer games for 1 hour two to three times a week during 12 weeks for untrained men aged 20-40 years resulted in significant increases in muscle mass and leg bone mass, whereas no effects occurred for the ina
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Contact: Peter Krustrup
pkrustrup@ifi.ku.dk
452-615-4341
University of Copenhagen
Source:Eurekalert

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