A Soccer Fitness Program May Benefit Women Being Treated for Breast Cancer

Playing European football, better known in the United States as soccer, may benefit women being treated for breast cancer, according to a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

This study was comprised of 68 women aged 23 to 74 (median age, 48) who were randomized 2:1 to a training group (n=46), who underwent soccer training sessions twice a week, and small-sided games, and and a control group (n=22). The trial ran for 12 months.

At baseline, and after six and 12 months, the researchers assessed health parameters (I.E., bone and muscle strength, balance, body fat, blood pressure), and the population of interest were asked to complete a questionnaire to rate their quality of life and daily energy levels.

According to the results, at 12 months of soccer training, women displayed better balance and greater muscle strength in the legs, while at the same time increasing bone density in the lumbar spine “While just one weekly training session on average was enough to produce positive effects on muscles and bones, and also to give a reduction in self-rated problems with everyday activities, it was not enough to produce a significant improvement in aerobic fitness for the football group. Our previous studies show a good improvement in maximal oxygen uptake of average 11% for 3-6 months’ football training comprising 2-3 weekly sessions, but the attendance in this study was obviously lower,” said says Professor Peter Krustrup, Head of Research at SDU’s Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics via a press release.

 

“However, we were able to establish that the intensity of the football training was just as high as for other target groups with hypertension and type 2 diabetes and also that there was a good improvement in maximal oxygen update in the 50% of participants who had a low aerobic fitness rating at the start of the study.”

Prof. Krustrup said: “The main conclusion is that Football Fitness is an intense and good form of training for women treated for breast cancer, with beneficial effects on balance, muscle strength and bone density.”