The recent World Cup showcased some of the planet’s fittest athletes, but even much older adults can benefit from playing soccer. A group of 27 previously untrained men ages 63 to 75 began twice-weekly soccer sessions. After four months, they showed substantial improvements in aerobic fitness and muscle strength.
“Our previous studies have shown that 70-year-old men with lifelong participation in [soccer] possess a postural balance and rapid muscle force that is comparable to that of 30-year-old untrained men,” said lead researcher Peter Krustrup, PhD. The new study focused on the health effects for elderly men with little soccer experience.
“The remarkable improvements . . . make it easier for the players to live an active life and overcome the physical challenges of everyday life such as climbing stairs, shopping, cycling, and gardening,” said Dr. Krustrup. Each soccer session lasted about an hour.