GOAL! A new health kick
Were you one of the millions who tuned into the 70-day Indian Super League soccer fest last year? If so, you may be surprised to learn that you don’t have to be an athlete to reap the health benefits of playing soccer. According to a small Danish study, previously inactive men ages 63 to 74 were able to significantly improve their heart function, bone density and muscle strength after playing soccer for one hour twice a week over the course of 16 weeks. Why is soccer so beneficial? The sport’s fast runs, stops, dribbles, passes and shots give muscles and bones an intense workout, say the researchers. The men in the study, who had never played soccer or hadn’t done so in decades, were better able to function when performing everyday task like climbing stairs and carrying groceries. The workout also helped reduce falls and fractures. \ While we’re certainly not suggesting you join a league and start heading soccer balls (never a good idea), you may want to consider going to a local park and kicking a ball around with your friends or grandkids for a convenient and inexpensive way to up your activity level and improve your mobility and function.