GOAL! A new health kick

Health & Nutrition - - HEALTH FLASH -

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.

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