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If you want to be both young at heart and have a young, healthier heart, researchers at the University of Copenhagen think they have the answer. They’ve found an effective way to improve heart function, drop blood pressure and improve your heart’s ability to handle daily stress.
Get out and play soccer.
“We discovered that soccer training significantly improved the flexibility of the heart and furthermore, that the cardiac muscle tissue was able to work 29% faster. This means that after three months of training, the heart had become 10 years ‘younger,’” explains researcher Jakob Friis Schmidt, who co-authored the study. “Many type 2 diabetes patients have less flexible heart muscles which is often one of the first signs of diabetes’ effect on cardiac function, increasing the risk of heart failure.”
The researchers found that three months of soccer training reduced blood pressure, improved the ability of the heart to contract and boosted maximal oxygen uptake by 12 percent.
Professor Jens Bangsbo, head of the Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health at University of Copenhagen, adds: “The results of the study, coupled with participants’ interest in continuing to play after the study, show that soccer has a great potential to help diabetic patients. This does not only gain the patients, but also contribute socio-economically.”