There’s a new slogan for weight-watchers: Burn it like Beckham. A friendly game of soccer, a new study has found, works off more fat and builds up more muscle than jogging. Danish scientists, who conducted their research on 37 men, also found soccer players felt less tired after exercising than joggers because they were having more fun.
To measure how hard the men were working out, the researchers strapped heart monitors to their chests and compared blood samples and muscle tissue from before and after matches and jogging sessions. The researchers selected men with similar health profiles aged between 31 and 33 and split them into groups of soccer players, joggers, and couch potatoes. Each period of exercise lasted about one hour and took place three times a week. After 12 weeks, researchers found that the body fat percentage in the soccer players dropped by 3.7% , compared with about 2% for the joggers. The soccer players also increased their muscle mass by almost 2kg, whereas the joggers didn’t have any significant change.
“Even though the soccer players were untrained, there were periods in the game that were so intense that their cardiovascular was maximally taxed, just like professional soccer players,” said Dr Peter Krustrup, head of Copenhagen University’s department of exercise and sport sciences, who led the study. AP