Long-term health effects of women’s football
P. Krustrup, P.R. Hansen, L.J. Andersen, M.D. Jakobsen, E. Sundstrup, M.B. Randers, L. Christiansen, E.W. Helge, M.T. Pedersen, P. Søgaard, A. Junge, J. Dvorak, P. Aagaard, J. Bangsbo
We examined long-term musculoskeletal and cardiac adaptations elicited by recreational football (FG, n=9) and running (RG, n=10) in untrained premenopausal women in comparison to a control group (CG, n=9). Training was performed for 16 months (~2 weekly 1-h sessions). For FG, right and left ventricular end-diastolic diameters were increased by 24% and 5% (p<0.05), respectively, after 16 months.
Right ventricular systolic function measured by tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE) increased (p<0.05) in FG after 4 months and further (p<0.05) after 16 months (15% and 32%, respectively). In RG and CG, cardiac structure, E/A and TAPSE remained unchanged. For FG, whole-body bone mineral density was 2.2% and 1.2% higher (p<0.05) after 16 months, than after 4 and 0 months, respectively, with no changes for RG and CG. FG demonstrated substantial improvements (p<0.05) in fast (27% and 16%) and slow (16% and 17%) eccentric muscle strength and rapid force capacity (Imp30ms: 66 and 65%) after 16 months compared to 4 and 0 months, with RG improving Imp30ms by 64 and 46%.
In conclusion, long-term recreational football improves muscle function, postural balance and bone mineral density in adult women with potential favourable influence on the risk of falls and fractures. Moreover, football training induced consistent cardiac adaptations, that may have implications for long-term cardiovascular health.
The major findings of the present study were that long-term regular participation in football training performed as small sided games lead to further improvements after the first 4 month in whole body bone mineral density, left and right ventricular end-diastolic diameter and right ventricular systolic function, whereas these favourable long-term adaptations were not observed after the same period of running training.
Additionally, quadriceps peak moments in both fast and slow concentric as well as eccentric movements were higher after 16 than 4 months of football training. Greater improvements in maximal eccentric quadriceps and hamstring muscle strength during fast movements were observed in the football group than in the running group over the total 16-months period. For almost all other variables the improvements obtained in the football group after the first 4 months were maintained.
In summary, long-term recreational football improved muscle function, reflex response, balance and bone mass density with potential influence on the risk of falls and fractures. Moreover, football training increased cardiac chamber sizes, improved left ventricular systolic and diastolic function, and induced a marked increase in right ventricular systolic function. These long-term cardiac adaptations may have favourable influence on cardiovascular health and physical performance.
More information: Peter Krustrup