There is good news for players who were thinking of taking one of the last remaining spots in the Towcester Monday Five a Side league, which kicks off this Monday night at Towcester Leisure Centre.
In addition to a free Nike ball and free entry to the league, run by Leisure Leagues, small-sided football is the healthiest sport there is, according to a series of studies.
More than 70 studies have taken place over the last 10 years and their findings have been published in the British Journal Of Sports Medicine.
The conclusions are that playing football for 15 weeks – around the length of a Leisure Leagues season – substantially reduced the risk of heart and lung disease, as well as lessening the chances of diabetes and leading to an average weight loss of 5lbs.
The trials also found that small-sided football games had a more positive effect on the participants than sports such as swimming or cycling.
The news comes after the Red Cross declared that Britain’s National Health Service is at breaking point, while just before Christmas government figures stated that 27 per cent of the population are obese and 41 per cent overweight.
The studies found that the health benefits of small-sided football are seen no matter what the age or gender of the participants.
Leisure Leagues spokesman Matt Webb said: “We have seen a real increase in women’s and veterans’ teams in the last 12 months, which makes such news even more gratifying.”
He added: “We are very proud of the community aspect to our league. Sport brings people together in a way that nothing else does and we are thrilled that in so many places around the world our leagues are a real focal point for friendships to both develop and flourish. While it has long been our belief that the health benefits were also huge, these studies prove it.”
The league kicks off from 7.45pm to 9.45pm on Monday. Profits will be donated to charities, such as Cancer Research UK, Blind Children UK and The Dogs Trust.
To join the leagues’ register, visit www.leisureleagues.net or for more information, call 0333 123 2340.