Good news for football fans! Scientists have discovered that playing soccer is the best way to improve your fitness, adjust your blood pressure, and reduce your risk of stroke.
Studies from the universities of Exeter and Copenhagen, and Gentofte University Hospital in Denmark have found that playing the game is more effective than any other healthy lifestyle advice.
After six months of football training, three in four men in the study had high blood pressure at a normal and healthy level, reports the Daily Mail.
It has long been known that exercise can lower blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure, but so far little evidence has been found as to which method of exercise is most effective.
The research team recruited 33 men between the ages of 33 and 54 with high blood pressure.
They were randomly divided into two groups: one participating in one-hour football lessons per hour while the other received general medical care (GP) including advice on the importance of exercise and a healthy diet, and blood pressure control measures.
Results on exercise capacity, high oxygen intake, body fat and blood pressure, were monitored after three months and at the end of the six-month trial.
In the football team, the mean dose was reduced by 10 mmHg, while the reduction was only 5 mmHg in the control group receiving standard GP advice.
Oxygen and energy levels also improved by 10 percent in athletes, with heart rate decreasing by eight beats per minute and body fat by 1.8 kilograms.
There was no significant change in these health measures in the control group.
Men who participated in football training were found to be underweight during moderate exercise. When they participated in activities such as cycling, they had a very low heart rate and high fat burning.