Skip to comments.Soccer could give homeless men a health kick, study says
Posted on 10/02/2011 7:29:28 PM PDT by ConservativeMind
Playing street football two or three times a week could halve the risk of early death in homeless men. Research led by the Universities of Exeter and Copenhagen, out today, shows the positive impact of street football on the fitness of homeless people, a group with typically poor health and low life expectancy.
Homeless people face a much lower-than-average life expectancy, usually as a result of cardiovascular disease. This is thought to be partly down to low aerobic fitness and high levels of hypertension and the fact that homeless people are, on average, more likely to smoke and misuse alcohol and other drugs. While homeless people tend to undertake large amounts of low-intensity physical exercise, through more than 10,000 daily steps of walking, most do not take part in more intensive exercise.
To address this problem, charities and government agencies have tried schemes such as offering gym memberships to homeless people.
For this study, 55 homeless men living in Copenhagen were included in a control group or invited to attend four-a-side football training sessions two to three times a week for 12 weeks. By the end, the aerobic fitness of the football-playing group was improved and their cholesterol, body fat and blood pressure reduced.
The footballers' average maximal oxygen uptake was increased 11 percent (four ml/min/kg bodyweight). Previous scientific studies have suggested that the risk of death decreases by around 50% through this increase in maximal oxygen uptake. Body fat was reduced by an average of 2.5 per cent and LDL-cholesterol by 6.4 per cent.
Lead author Professor Peter Krustrup of the University of Exeter said: "Street football for homeless men is very intense and 12 weeks of training significantly improves the fitness and cardiovascular health profile of these men. We also observed a very high attendance rate, which is promising for future adherence to physical activity."
"Football seems to be a great type of fitness training for most people. Not only does it encourage varied, intense training, it is social and it can be played anywhere."
Collaborating researcher, Professor Merete Nordentoft of the Psychiatric Center Copenhagen, University of Copenhagen, concludes: "There seems to be great potential for improving the quality of many people's lives if local agencies could organise street football groups for homeless people."
More information: The study 'Short-term Street Soccer Improves Fitness and Cardiovascular Health of Homeless Men' is published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.
Provided by University of Exeter
A job could, too.
These people are idiots...
LOL I see a plot for a great comedy flick.
“Homeless Soccor” the sequel to “Midnight Basketball”
Something like the old Monty Python Bournemouth Gynecologists vs the Watford Long John Silver Impersonators sketch...Would help some clubs really pad their records.
Beam me up, Scotty!!!!
it provides jobs and income for the leftist university researchers.
Studies of this type are intrinsically worthless because they have no provision for controlled followup and no control for the effect of being singled out for attention.
I agree, but would add that it's a terrible waste of taxpayer money. Will the next study show that getting a job reduces unemployment?
Really? I would have thought it was due to heavy drug and alcohol use.
Maybe they could hook the homeless up to rickshaws, that way they could earn some money as they got some exercise.
I saw that episode while stationed in the UK. Every time I even think of it, I fall off my chair, laughing. Brilliant.
Must be nice. I can't afford alcohol, smokes, or drugs while trying to pay my mortgage...
At least the mental picture I get of my town’s homeless playing soccer gives me a laugh although half of them would unfortunately drop dead before the half.
Oh heck ya let’s build ‘em a new stadium too with comfortable seats with built in minibars and a solar powered scoreboard.
Next up: Making sure your kids tapeworm lives long and prospers