#UnordinaryIdeas #UnordinaryPlaces #SportEventsFaroeIslands #FootballIsMedicine

Millions of football fans will happily agree that their hobby is also medicine, but I am afraid this is not what is meant here!

This is about actively playing football and about the consequences and impact this particular activity can have on health issues. We talk about the importance of sports in general to the people and the community of the Faroe Islands and what special knowledge and excellence has developed in the medicine and health sector, based on the different sports being practised on the Faroe Islands.

One such great example for local expertise and engagement is the research on “Football is Medicine”. During the past 12 years the internationally renowned physiologists Professor Peter Krustrup (Denmark) and Professor Magni Mohr (Faroe Islands) and their teams have researched the positive health impacts of Football Fitness. That is health football.

They have started projects together with colleagues from around the world and until today 150 scientific articles have been published in 30 different international journals about this research and its findings, including 4 special issues and 3 meta-analyses.

Recreational football is an effective and broad-spectrum form of exercise that can be used as a new socially-oriented strategy for preventing and treating lifestyle diseases. Training concepts like the “Football Fitness”, implemented in collaboration with the Danish Football Association, are now being used with patients suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure, and for rehabilitation following treatment for prostate and breast cancer, to mention just a few of the areas of possible application.

The concept is scientifically proofed as effective prevention of non-communicable diseases for children from 7 years up to 80-year-old adults. Also, the concept is examined as a treatment for several groups of patients in the Danish health care system.

The international platform “Football is medicine” was established in 2018 and the first international conference was held in Lisbon, Portugal, where 350 doctors, physiologists, psychologists and other health researchers gathered in a first conference around the topic.

The second conference took place at the University of Southern Denmark, in Odense in Denmark in January 2019. Approximately 200 delegates participated. The scientific work presented during the conference was covering e.g. football training as treatment for cardiovascular diseases — positive scientific results also came from Faroese females, who have played football to lower their blood pressure levels.

The conference will be going in its third edition in Tórshavn in January 2020, hosted by University of the Faroe Islands, The Faroese Football Association and the Public Health Council.

Football is presently being used as medicine in more than 20 countries: “There’s currently a lot of focus on the special qualities of football as an exercise form that promotes health across age, gender and social background and has positive effects on blood pressure, cardiac health, fitness, bones, muscles, mental health, motivation for training and a number of other parameters. It therefore makes good sense for us to take stock of the latest knowledge and pass it on both in Denmark and internationally,” says Professor Peter Krustrup of the Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics and chief organizer of the international “Football is Medicine” Conference.

Main conclusions of the research he’s made:

Football is an intense, versatile all-in-one type of training combining cardio training, endurance training and strength training, improving cardio-vascular, metabolic and musculoskeletal fitness

  • Football organized with few players on small pitches has a high involvement and success rate and lower injury risk than 11v11 matches
  • Football has a great potential as prevention and treatment of life-style diseases and rehabilitation for cancer patients
  • Football is effective for participants across the lifespan, independent of gender, training status, body composition, socio-economic status and skill level.

Also see the article on iNova Research Park, a scientific working space in the Faroe Islands created to facilitate the co-use of expensive laboratory infrastructure and instruments by public and private organizations. At iNova, the Human Performance and Health Lab focuses on research on human physiology.

Projects include post-surgery rehab exercises, pre-diabetes treatments, and performance testing of not only Faroese athletes, but also foreign athletes that come to the Faroe Islands to train.

If you plan meetings or conferences related to sports, health impact of sports, football or similar, come to organize them in the Faroe Islands and connect with local research and creative experts through Visit Faroe Islands Meetings!


This story is part of the 2019 Ambassador Initiative of Visit Faroe Islands Meetings to share information about leading knowledge clusters on the Islands that might be relevant for international meeting planners and business communities.

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