Washington: Football training in school can greatly improve girls' fitness and health, finds a study.
Schoolgirls can achieve lower blood pressure, stronger muscles, better balance and improved jumping performance if their school puts football training on the timetable - including girls who have never played football before.
This is the finding of a study of the FIFA 11 for Health in Europe exercise concept in Faroese schoolchildren carried out by football researchers at the University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics.
"The study shows that teaching health on the football pitch improves 10-12-year-old girls' muscle strength, muscle mass, balance and blood pressure - including in girls who have no previous experience of football," said Peter Krustrup, head of research.
"Our previous studies have shown that the FIFA 11 for Health in Europe concept improves 10-12-year-old schoolchildren's health profile, cognitive function and social well-being while increasing their understanding of physical activity, varied and healthy eating, hygiene and bad habits around tobacco and alcohol. Now we can add that this form of football, with the focus on ball games and small pitches, is very inclusive and produces great improvements in physical fitness and health profile in schoolgirls, even if they have no previous football experience," added Krustrup.
The study appears in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.