According to a recent study published online on May 10, 2013, in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise
, men with type 2 diabetes may be able to lower their risk for cardiovascular disease by playing soccer.
Researchers from the Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, assessed the impact of soccer training on cardiac function, blood pressure, and exercise capacity in 21 middle-aged men diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. At baseline, 60% of the men had high blood pressure and were taking at least 1 blood pressure–reducing medication.
The participants, aged 37 to 60 years, were split into a soccer training group and a control group. The soccer group trained for 1 hour 2 times a week. Researchers measured their blood pressure–maximal oxygen consumption, and intermittent endurance capacity before the study, after 12 weeks of training, and again after 24 weeks when the study ended.
Men in the soccer training group lowered their systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 8 mm Hg at the end of the study and the need for taking medications was significantly reduced. Those who played soccer also improved their maximal oxygen uptake by 12% and their intermittent exercise capacity by 42%.
The authors conclude that soccer training can potentially lower diabetes patients’ risk of cardiovascular disease as well as other illnesses connected to type 2 diabetes.