Soccer can improve heart function of diabetics: Study

Copenhagen, May 31 (IANS) Playing soccer can alleviate blood pressure problems and improve heart function in patients with type 2 diabetes, says a study.

The study, published recently in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, investigated the effects of soccer training on 21 men, aged 37-60 years, who had type 2 diabetes.

"We discovered that soccer training significantly improved the flexibility of the heart, and the cardiac muscle tissue was able to work 29 percent faster," said study co-author Jakob Friis Schmidt, reports Science Daily.

"This means that after three months of training, the heart had become 10 years younger," added Schmidt, who co-authored the study with PhD student Thomas Rostgaard Andersen.

"Many type 2 diabetes patients have less flexible heart muscles which is often one of the first signs of diabetes' effect on cardiac function, increasing the risk of heart failure," the researcher said.

Advanced ultrasound scanning of the heart also demonstrated that the heart's contraction phase was improved and that the capacity of the heart to shorten was improved by 23 percent - a result that had not been reported with other types of physical activity.

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