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Five-a-side: possibly the most beneficial pastime in the world

If you’re a football player most likely, you play 5-aside – it’s by far the largest and most well-known game played in a lot of places. It’s more than just the game itself that it’s a nimble exercise routine as well as a social gathering and it’s an extremely competitive sport … that’s what we do when become too old to ‘jumppers to goalposts’. In his new book called The Five-A-Side Bible from BackPage Press CHRIS BRUCE examines all aspects of the game from wacky team names such as”The Neville Wears Prada Murder at Zidane’s Floor interviews with famous names, bizarre stories of injuries and ill-discipline as well as outrageous excuses for not playing, kit malfunctions, and a bucket-list of the most famous 5-a-side pitches. The book also covers sport science, the inside scoop on nutrition and tactics and the best way to use warm-ups and warm downs to maximize performance. In this clip interview, he talks to an expert Danish instructor who will explain why the five-a-side game isn’t just a game for enjoyable, but could be the most effective exercise anywhere in the world.

In 2003 in 2003, Professor Peter Krustrup, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark began looking into the physical and mental benefits of football for health. In the past, more than 70 studies have appeared on the topic, and there is a numerous studies supporting the health advantages of football played specifically. Here , he addresses questions regarding his research.

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What was the first time you became involved in analyzing the advantages of football?

I was a research scientist studying the performance of a match, fatigue and the impact of training on top footballers. I started to use the same technique on veteran and recreational footballers. We found how the rate of heartbeat in 5-a-side was just as high for players of elite level.

We also conducted an initial pilot project that included 12 weeks of training. We looked at the teams with the lowest performance in Denmark and studied their matches, training and the results of the football program for 12 weeks. Although the players we examined were not the best, they displayed an extremely high level of intensity. But it was fun and social. We discovered that if football can benefit them, it can benefit everyone else.

You also discovered a variety of particular health benefits, like blood pressure or fat loss?

Some of the most remarkable results are related to heart function and aerobic fitness that increased by as much as 15% in just three months. The impact on blood pressure is equally important. There have been a drop in blood pressure by 10mm after only three months of practice that is the same as a highly efficient treatment using pills. The pill does provide the ability to lower blood pressure but has no other benefits, while football has other benefits in the same time, including lower cholesterol, a lower heart rate at rest and lower body fat.

Additionally, we have noticed that bone mineralisation can increase by as high as a percent in women who are mature within three months. In one study, we examined the reduction of the risk of heart disease. It was reduced by 50 percent in a population of homeless men, as well as groups of hypertensive people, both men and women. In another study , we assessed the heart functions of diabetic males and found that their hearts – as a result to one of the main variables that affect elasticity were 10 years younger following just three months of exercise.

The research appears to show that playing football can be a more effective way to exercise than cycling or swimming and is as effective as running?

There are currently around 70 research papers in 20 journals. In a lot of these research papers , we examine the results of small-sided football versus different types of training. The conclusion is that football is an intensive, versatile, and effective all-in-one form of training which blends endurance as well as high-intensity and strength training. Through football, we get the same benefits of strength training with regard to muscular and skeletal health, the same advantages to metabolic health as the endurance exercise; as well as similar cardiovascular benefits of football in the form of high-intensity interval training. Football is the only form of exercise that can combine all three.

Concerning impact on health, is 5 a side more beneficial than 11-a-side?

Pilot studies examined five-a-side football, seven-a-side and 11-a-side. The intensity of the exercise is similar and involves an identical heartbeat as well as several specific and intense movements like sprints, turns , shots, dribbles and jumps. However, the ‘Football Fitness concept that we have created is based on smaller-sided football such as 5-a-side playing on small fields with only a few players. This means that the intensity is extremely high.

Participation is crucial and that means lots of ball-related touches and technical moves for all players that you might not observe in an 11-a-side scenario. Five-a-side football is a sport where there are significantly fewer injuries than in 11-a-side matches. Numerous studies have proven that the amount of injuries sustained in small-sided training is only 20 percent of the amount of injuries that occur in competitive 11-a-side games.

I think that the fun aspect of 5-a-side football one of the main reasons it’s so beneficial for you?

While it is true that the levels of intensity are high, athletes say that their perceived exertion levels are moderate. Although high intensity workouts are typically regarded as very difficult on the scale of 0-10 the males have reported the score as ‘3.9 and women had a ‘5.5’. The same research the group of male and women runners each had an ‘8.0’. When you play football, you’re focusing on your teammates and rivals and the game itself instead of the physical stress.

There are huge psychological benefits, too?

The sports psychologists at our institute have conducted diverse types of questions that are related to health, feelings of flow in training and games, as well as the level of anxiety. They discovered that you don’t think about worry when you play soccer – you focus on the game, your teammates and the role you play. It’s easy to forget about your daily life while playing. There are also evidence in a variety of studies that athletes have a better body image, build confidence in themselves and develop more confidence in teams in sports.

When you talk to players about their football experience, they will often talk about “we” stories that are common stories for the group. This ties make it simpler for people to become acquainted with one others, which aids in adhering to physical exercise.