Monday, 1 October 2007

Are you ready for some football (Uh...I mean soccer)?

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A common complaint against running as a form of exercise is that it is boring. Redundant, even. I can't say that I disagree, as I tend to avoid running almost altogether and instead opt for more lively forms of cardio. Fortunately for the anti-runners out there, a recent Dutch study revealed that you burn more calories playing a game of soccer (though I'm sure they called it football in their study) than you do when just going for a run.

When comparing men with similar health profiles aged 31 to 33 who played soccer for an hour a day, three times a week against men who jogged for this same amount of time, it was found that the soccer players saw a 3.7 percent reduction in body fat. By contrast, the joggers dropped about 2 percent.

As an added incentive to kick the ball around, soccer players also demonstrated an increase in muscle mass by almost 4.5 pounds, whereas the joggers did not show any significant change one way or the other.
The soccer players and he joggers had similar heart rates, but the health advantage the soccer players experienced came from occasional bursts of speed and intensity. Also, because the soccer players were more focused on the game than on their exhaustion, they were able to push themselves to greater levels of exertion.

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