Physical inactivity is a very significant public health problem. As a society, we are becoming increasingly sedentary and more obese. This has obvious health implications. Physical activity is an important health intervention. Playing football for 45-60 minutes two or three times a week has been shown to markedly improve cardiovascular and musculoskeletal function. It is also associated with improved psychological well-being and mental health. These changes occur irrespective of the level of training, experience of the game, gender and age.
Health is key to development and growth. Developing countries have to fight poverty, hunger and infections. While HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are still killing millions worldwide, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and heart disease are catching up. Football unites people of every age, gender, language, ethnicity, culture and religion. As a result, it may prove a uniquely effective and low-cost tool in the world’s fight for health.
Clinicians have an important role in influencing their patients’ behaviours regarding physical activity. This chapter discusses how football can be used to improve health outcomes, as well as how to prescribe physical activity, including football, as a treatment intervention.
Prof Peter Krustrup
Professor of Sport and Health Sciences