Soccer Training Improves Cardiac Function in Men with Type 2 Diabetes

Schmidt, Jakob Friis1,2; Andersen, Thomas Rostgaard1; Horton, Joshua1; Brix, Jonathan1; Tarnow, Lise3; Krustrup, Peter1,4; Andersen, Lars Juel5; Bangsbo, Jens1; Hansen, Peter Riis2

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: December 2013 - Volume 45 - Issue 12 - p 2223–2233
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31829ab43c
Clinical Sciences

Introduction: Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, which is worsened by physical inactivity. Subclinical myocardial dysfunction is associated with increased risk of heart failure and impaired prognosis in T2DM; however, it is not clear if exercise training can counteract the early signs of diabetic heart disease.

Purpose: This study aimed to evaluate the effects of soccer training on cardiac function, exercise capacity, and blood pressure in middle-age men with T2DM.

Methods: Twenty-one men age 49.8 ± 1.7 yr with T2DM and no history of cardiovascular disease participated in a soccer training group (n = 12) that trained 1 h twice a week or a control group (n = 9) with no change in lifestyle. Examinations included comprehensive transthoracic echocardiography, measurements of blood pressure, maximal oxygen consumption (V˙O2max), and intermittent endurance capacity before and after 12 and 24 wk. Two-way repeated-measures ANOVA was applied.

Results: After 24 wk of soccer training, left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic diameter and volume were increased (P < 0.001) compared to baseline. LV longitudinal systolic displacement was augmented by 23% (P < 0.001) and global longitudinal two-dimensional strain increased by 10% (P < 0.05). LV diastolic function, determined by mitral inflow (E/A ratio) and peak diastolic velocity E′, was increased by 18% (P < 0.01) and 29% (P < 0.001), respectively, whereas LV filling pressure E/E′ was reduced by 15% (P = 0.05). Systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial pressures were all reduced by 8 mm Hg (P < 0.01, P < 0.001, and P < 0.001, respectively). V˙O2max and intermittent endurance capacity was 12% and 42% (P < 0.001) higher, respectively. No changes in any of the measured parameters were observed in control group.

Conclusion: Regular soccer training improves cardiac function, increases exercise capacity, and lowers blood pressure in men with T2DM.

1Copenhagen Centre for Team Sports and Health, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DENMARK; 2Department of Cardiology, Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen, DENMARK; 3Steno Diabetes Center, Copenhagen and Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, DENMARK; 4Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, St. Luke’s Campus, University of Exeter, Devon, UNITED KINGDOM; and 5Department of Cardiology, Herlev Hospital, Herlev, DENMARK

Address for correspondence: Jakob Friis Schmidt, M.D., Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 13, 2100 København Ø, Denmark; E-mail:

Submitted for publication March 2013.

Accepted for publication May 2013.

© 2013 American College of Sports Medicine