London: Playing soccer on the streets twice or thrice a week could halve the risk of early death in homeless men.
Research led by the Universities of Exeter and Copenhagen shows the positive impact of such football on the fitness of homeless people, a group with typically poor health and low life expectancy.
Homeless people face a much lower-than-average life expectancy, usually as a result of cardiovascular disease, according to a Copenhagen statement.
University of Exeter`s Peter Krustrup, who led the study, said: "Street football for homeless men is very intense and 12 weeks of training significantly improves the fitness and cardiovascular health profile of these men."
While homeless people tend to undertake large amount of low-intensity physical exercise through more than 10,000 daily steps of walking, most do not take part in more intensive exercise.
For this study, 55 homeless men living in Copenhagen were included in a control group or invited to attend four-a-side football training sessions two to three times a week for 12 weeks.
By the end, the aerobic fitness of the football-playing group was improved and their cholesterol, body fat and blood pressure reduced.