If you’ve got high blood pressure, a study in Europe suggests a unique prescription: Play soccer a couple of times a week.
The researchers found that when men with hypertension played soccer twice a week for about an hour each time, their blood pressure generally normalized, their stroke risk decreased and their physical fitness vastly improved. A previous study found a similar benefit in women.
“The soccer training also boosted the aerobic fitness and resulted in marked improvements in both maximal and moderate exercise capacity,” says lead researcher Professor Peter Krustup. “Playing football [soccer] made it easier for previously untrained men to train even harder, and also make it easier for them to cope with everyday life activities such as cycling, walking upstairs, shopping and lawn mowing.”