Monday, August 26, 2013

Prevent Heart Disease For Diabetics With Soccer Training

People with Type-2 diabetes are more likely to develop hypertension and heart disease, and situation worsens with physical inactivity. So diabetics are always advised to exercise regularly, in addition to adopting a health diet. For some serious cases, medications are prescribed to prevent possible medical complications.

A recent study, which was published on May 10, 2013 in journal ‘Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise’, reported that soccer training can improve heart function, reduce blood pressure and elevate exercise capacity in patients with Type-2 diabetes. Soccer training can also reduce the need for medication.

Funded by the Nordea-fonden, the study was conducted by a group of researchers from the Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health at the University of Copenhagen, Gentofte Hospital, Herlev Hospital, and Aarhus University in Denmark and University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

The study involved 21 male Type-2 diabetics with an average age of 50 years without history of cardiovascular disease. 12 of the participants were asked to participate in a soccer-training group that trained one hour, twice a week. The remaining 9 participants were assigned to a control group with no change in lifestyle.

Examinations including comprehensive transthoracic echocardiography, measurements of blood pressure, maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) and intermittent endurance capacity were performed before and after 12 and 24 weeks.

It was found that soccer training significantly improved flexibility of the heart and the cardiac muscle tissue was able to work 29 percent faster. This means that the heart had become 10 years younger after 3 months of training. This is certainly good news as many Type-2 diabetics have less flexible heart muscles that will increase the risk of heart failure. The heart’s contraction phase was better and the capacity of the heart to shorten was improved by 23 percent. Such result had not been reported with other types of physical activity.

The researchers also found that the blood pressure was greatly reduced. At the onset of the study, 60 percent of the participants had extremely high blood pressure and had been prescribed one or more pressure reducing medications. Soccer training cut the systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 8 mmHg. These effects are similar to those achieved by taking high blood pressure medications, thus significantly reducing the need for medication.

In addition, the study also showed that the participants' maximal oxygen uptake was raised by 12 percent and their intermittent exercise capacity was elevated by 42 percent. This would certainly lower the risk of other illnesses associated with Type-2 diabetes.

While soccer training has a great potential to help diabetics because of its ability to improve cardiac function, increase exercise capacity and lower blood pressure, it might not be suitable for diabetics of all ages.

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