Nemanja Cvetković, Emilija Stojanović, Nenad Stojiljković, Dušan Nikolić, Zoran Milanović

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The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a 12 week recreational football and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on physical fitness in overweight children. Forty-two overweight and obese boys aged 11-13 were randomly divided into three groups: HIIT group (n = 14), recreational football (n = 14) and a control group that attended regular physical education classes (n = 14). Physical fitness components were measured at baseline and after 12 weeks of training at the same time of the day and under similar conditions, including: countermovement jump (CMJ), sprint over 10 and 30 m, flexibility and biochemical parameters (leukocytes, erythrocytes, hemoglobin, glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides). HIIT group increased explosive power of lower extremities by 7.16% (small ES), while the recreational football group recorded slightly less increase of 6.57% (small ES). HIIT led to a statistically significant increase (p<0.05) in the number of erythrocytes in the blood (8.90%). The recreational football program influenced the improvement of results in variables spreading lying on the back (6.21%) and the number of erythrocytes (↑ 9.11%). Twelve-weeks of recreational football and HIIT can lead to positive changes in muscle fitness, flexibility and biochemical parameters in overweight and obese children. Compared to the experimental groups, the control group noted minor changes in the aforementioned variables, which indicates the lack of intensity of exercise programs in regular classes of physical education.


recreational soccer; interval training; obesity; fitness

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22190/FUPES180604039M


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