I know at least one regular Science Buzz contributor will be ecstatic over this latest bit of health news. So who showed the most personal health improvement when you compare soccer players to joggers to couch potatoes?
That was the question posed by Danish researchers who conducted a 12-week study of 37 men with similar health profiles going into the study. One third of the men played soccer for recreation over the course of the study, one third jogged and one third (the group I’d have liked to have been in) were couch potatoes.
After 12 weeks, here’s what they found out: Soccer players showed the most personal health improvement. Their body fat percentage went down 3.7% while their muscle mass increased 4.5 pounds. Joggers' fat percentage went down 2 percent and their muscle mass did not change significantly. Obviously, the couch potatoes health benchmarks got worse.
And through questions posed to the participants, researchers learned that soccer players felt less tired than the joggers after exercising as they were having more fun participating in that activity.
A lot of that makes a lot of common sense, but there is actually more science at play. The head of the study said soccer is a great exercise to improve health because soccer players get a better workout made up of intense bursts of activity. During those bursts, their hearts were pumping at up to 90 percent efficiency, a level that the joggers never came close to approaching.
Of course, us couch potatoes get a great workout for our fingers on the remote control. Talk about burst of energy, there’s nothing that moves my fingers faster than five or six bad channels in a row!
So what do you think? Is soccer better exercise than jogging? Is there another form of physical activity that’s even better? What’s the best workout? Share your thoughts here with other Science Buzz readers.
And you can also weigh in with your thoughts about soccer on another Science Buzz section…is soccer the most exciting sport to watch? Check it out by clicking here.