Women wanted for football research
THERE is still time for women in the Exeter area to take part in a research project looking at the health benefits of football training.
The university study, funded by the sport's world governing body FIFA, started last year and 25 women have already completed a programme of supervised training over four months.
Others are currently part-way through the process, but the researchers are eager to recruit around 50 more volunteers to help them complete the study.
Professor Peter Krustrup, who joined Exeter from the University of Copenhagen in 2011, is leading the research alongside Dr Karen Knapp.
"We have recruited approximately half the participants, which is a good start, but we really need to recruit the remainder within the next three or four weeks so they can train for four months before the summer holiday," said Peter.
"Everything is going well so far and the participants are enjoying it. There were several who told us they didn't expect to like football but they became fond of it and found it is very good fun, and they enjoy the social aspect."
Fifa's Medical Assessment and Research Centre has provided 100,000 euros of funding for the research. The findings will be presented at a conference in Brazil ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
Peter said: "I'm very pleased to have received funding from FIFA for the study. Both we and FIFA are interested in the fitness and health benefits of recreational football, because 99 per cent of all footballers are not elite players.
"So many players around the world play football just for fun and we are really interested in whether a small time commitment can be enough to improve fitness and health when the intensity of training is high."
Women aged between 25 and 45 who are not currently taking regular exercise can volunteer for the research. Over four months, those participating in the study will either join in regular football training sessions or use a fitness machine called the Galileo vibrating plate.
Most will train for 15 minutes twice a week, while some will complete two 60-minute sessions a week.
Their health will be assessed so researchers can investigate the impact of each type of exercise on muscle mass and strength, balance, bone density and fat mass and distribution.
The women will receive information on their body composition and on their risk of osteoporosis.
Peter's previous research has found that playing football could be the best way for people with high blood pressure, known as hypertension, to improve their fitness, normalise their blood pressure and reduce their risk of stroke.
A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise suggests football training prevents cardiovascular disease in middle-aged men with hypertension and is more effective than healthy lifestyle advice prescribed by GPs.
Women interested in taking part in the study can find out more by emailing boneres email@example.com or calling 07909 039659 or 01392 722878.