Get access

Beneficial effects of recreational football on the cardiovascular risk profile in untrained premenopausal women


Corresponding author: Peter Krustrup, Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Section of Human Physiology, University of Copenhagen, The August Krogh Building, Universitetsparken 13, Copenhagen 2100-Ø, Denmark. Tel: +45 35 32 16 24, Fax: +45 35 32 16 00, E-mail:


The present study examined the cardiovascular health effects of 16 weeks of recreational football training in untrained premenopausal women in comparison with continuous running training. Fifty healthy women were matched and randomized to a football (FG, n=25) or a running (RG, n=25) group and compared with a control group with no physical training (CO, n=15). Training was performed for 1 h twice a week. After 16 weeks, systolic and diastolic blood pressure was reduced (P<0.05) in FG (7±2 and 4±1 mmHg) and systolic blood pressure was lowered (P<0.05) in RG (6±2 mmHg). After 16 weeks, resting heart rate was lowered (P<0.05) by 5±1 bpm both in FG and RG, and maximal oxygen uptake was elevated (P<0.05) by 15% in FG and by 10% in RG (5.0±0.7 and 3.6±0.6 mL/min/kg, respectively). Total fat mass decreased (P<0.05) by 1.4±0.3 kg in FG and by 1.1±0.3 kg in RG. After 16 weeks, pulse pressure wave augmentation index (−0.9±2.5 vs 4.2±2.4%), skeletal muscle capillarization (2.44±0.15 vs 2.07±0.05 cap/fib) and low-density lipoprotein/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio were improved (P<0.05) in FG, but not altered in RG. No changes were observed in CO. In conclusion, regular recreational football training has significant favorable effects on the cardiovascular risk profile in untrained premenopausal women and is at the least as efficient as continuous running.

Get access to the full text of this article