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Study: Football most beneficial to improve the health of senior men

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With the World Cup set to kick off on Thursday, interest in the world's most popular sport is likely to peak, with a recent study suggesting that playing football could be the most beneficial to the health of senior men.

Undertaken by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, a study split 27 men between the ages of 63 and 70 into groups, allowing them to practice football or take part in strength training twice a week for an hour.

Once the study was over, it was found that those who took part in football had better results in terms of maximal aerobic fitness and exhaustive exercise performance when compared to those who did the strength training regime.

On average, the football participants made a 30 per cent improvement in muscle function, while increasing their oxygen intake capacities by 15 per cent. Other improvements were also made in relation to bone mineralisation.

"The results provide strong evidence that football is an intense, versatile and effective form of training, including for untrained elderly men. It is definitely never too late to start playing football," said professor Peter Krustrup of the Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health at the University of Copenhagen.

"Football boosts physical capacity and heart health, and minimises the risk of falls and fractures in elderly, men who have never played football before or have not played for decades."

The popularity of football in the UK was highlighted recently following Deloitte’s Annual Review of Football Finance study, which found that the combined total of Premier League clubs’ revenues broke the £3bn (US$5bn, €3.7bn) mark for the first time during the 2013-14 season.

More detailed findings from the study can be found in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

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With the World Cup set to kick off on Thursday, interest in the world's most popular sport is likely to peak, with a recent study suggesting that playing football could be the most beneficial to the health of senior men.
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