Getting bored on that treadmill? Recent research from the University of Copenhagen’s Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre (Denmark) shows that you can get an even more effective cardio workout by playing recreational soccer than by running! The Danish researchers had 36 men follow a 12-week cardio program, with some subjects playing recreational soccer (consisting of soccer drills) or running for one hour two or three times per week, and other subjects following no exercise plan. The scientists found that the men playing soccer had an average exercise heart rate similar to those running (a little over 80% of their max heart rate), but the guys playing soccer had a bigger increase in their VO2 max (an aerobic capacity measure), a greater decrease in bodyfat (almost two times more), and a greater increase in the number of capillaries per muscle fiber (this can help to increase muscle growth by getting more blood to muscles, along with more of the oxygen, nutrients and anabolic hormones it carries). The soccer group actually gained muscle mass (almost 5 pounds) and decreased their LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Don’t worry if you can’t work a soccer ball to save your life — the point of this study is that soccer-drill training, which is a lot of stop-and-go training (similar to high-intensity interval training) is better than steady running. So, if soccer is not an option for you, do some HIIT and try to total two to three hours per week.