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Soccer can kick-start stronger bones and muscles.

Looking for exercise with a little kick? Try soccer. A recent study found that untrained men ages 63 to 75 got healthier after playing soccer for one hour, twice weekly, over a four-month period. Danish researchers found that the previously inactive men, who had little if any experience with soccer, improved their maximum oxygen uptake by 15 percent and their interval performance by almost 50 percent. Muscle function also improved by 30 percent. Soccer requires stop-and-go running, quick turns, agility, and powerful kicks, all of which help build muscle strength, joint flexibility, strong balance and coordination, and cardiovascular health. In particular, the researchers noted that the sport's constant action and unorthodox movements increased bone mineralization in the femur (thigh) bone and femoral neck (which attaches the femur to the femoral head, or "ball" that connects to the hip socket)."The improvements in aerobic fitness and muscle strength makes it easier for these men to live active lives, and overcome the physical challenges of everyday life, such as climbing stairs, walking longer with less fatigue, and reducing the risk of falls," the researchers said in a statement. "Plus, it's never too late to begin playing."

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Title Annotation:PREVENTION
Publication:Healthy Years
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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