Friday, September 21, 2007

Soccer or Jogging

Soccer is about agility, jogging about endurance. Both are great sports but there are also some difference.

Soccer players have more fun and get a better workout than joggers. Compared to jogging, soccer has also a lot more body-eye and spatiotemporal context coordination in the presence of other moving team members, opponents and a ball. The group aspects can be tremendously rewarding and refreshing.

So, the research findings are hardly surprising:

The researchers selected men with similar health profiles aged 31 to 33 and split them into groups of soccer players, joggers, and couch potatoes — who not surprisingly ended the three-month study in the worst shape.

Each period of exercise lasted about one hour and took place three times a week. After 12 weeks, researchers found that the body fat percentage in the soccer players dropped by 3.7 percent, compared to about 2 percent for the joggers.

The soccer players also increased their muscle mass by almost 4.5 pounds, whereas the joggers didn't have any significant change. Those who did no exercise registered little change in body fat and muscle mass.

"Even though the football (soccer) players were untrained, there were periods in the game that were so intense that their cardiovascular was maximally taxed, just like professional football (soccer) players," said Dr. Peter Krustrup, head of Copenhagen University's department of exercise and sport sciences, who led the study.

The soccer players and the joggers had the same average heart rate, but the soccer players got a better workout because of intense bursts of activity. Krustrup and his colleagues found there were periods during soccer matches when the players' hearts were pumping at 90 percent their full capacity. But the joggers' hearts were never pushed as hard.

Unlike the soccer players, the joggers consistently thought their runs were exhausting.

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