Bone Health, Body Composition and Physiological Demands in 70–85-Year-Old Lifelong Male Football Players

Domenico Martone, Daniela Vitucci, Annamaria Mancini, Georgios Ermidis, Jeppe Panduro, Loretta Francesca Cosco, Morten B. Randers, Malte Nejst Larsen, Magni Mohr, Pasqualina Buono, Peter Krustrup

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The effects of lifelong football training on bone health, body composition and physiological demands were evaluated. A total of 20 veteran football players (VPG; 73.4 ± 3.7 years) and 18 untrained age-matched men (CG; 75.6 ± 4.2 years) were enrolled. Whole-body and regional dual-energy X-ray bsorptiometry scans of arms, legs, proximal femur and lower spine (L1-L4) were recorded in all participants. We observerd higher bone mineral density (BMD) in the whole-body, arms and femoral regions and higher bone mineral content (BMC) in the legs and lower spine compared to the CG (p < 0.05), also higher total lean body mass (p < 0.05) and lower total body fat percentage (p < 0.05), were found. No differences in food habits were evidenced between the VPG and the CG, as evaluated using 3-day food records. Resting heart rate (RHR), blood pressure
(BP) and activity profile during a football match were recorded using a global positioning system only in the VPG. The mean heart rate (HR)of theoretical maximal HR (ThHRmax), and peak of ThHRmax were 83.9 ± 8.6% and 98.6 ± 10.2%, respectively; the mean of total distance covered was 3666 ± 721 m, and the means of accelerations and decelerations were 419 ± 61 and 428 ± 65,
respectively. Lifelong participation in football training improves regional BMD and BMC in legs, femur and lumbar spine compared to the CG. A high number of intense actions in term of HR and accelerations and decelerations suggests an elevated energy expenditure that in turn correlates to the healthier body composition observed in the VPG compared to the CG.
Original languageEnglish
Article number205
Number of pages13
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2023


  • body composition
  • lifelong football training
  • elderly
  • bone health
  • physiological demand


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