Football IS Medicine: Peter Krustrup’s drive to spread the important message

By Marcos Agostinho @MarcMedMD

I first found out about Peter Krustrup and his ‘Football as Medicine’ crusade when I enrolled in FIFA’s Diploma in Football Medicine back in early 2016. And well, the rest is history.

I met and interviewed Peter Krustrup during the 1st Football Is Medicine (FIM) International Conference in Portugal (Jan 25 – 26, 2018). Boasting more than 8800 listens in just 6 months, you can also hear the interview here:

I had the pleasure to review his book (to be published soon) on Football as Medicine which delves into the benefits of football on cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, osteopenia, fall (and fracture) prevention as well as cancer. Football as medicine is also discussed in relation to children (and youth), healthy ageing, the socially deprived and even in the workplace. It builds on his research over 15 years and reinforces that Football IS Medicine. In more ways than one.

As you’ll hear Peter reiterate, football is an intense and versatile modality that combines endurance, aerobic high-intensity interval (HIIT) and strength training for participants of all ages and skill levels. It can therefore be characterized as an all-in-one type of training with broad-spectrum fitness effects for the general population, resulting in marked positive and simultaneous effects on cardiovascular, metabolic and musculoskeletal fitness. Peter’s holistic “Football is Medicine” model describes these effects, and many more, as you’ll see in his most recent BJSM publication ( In the below figure, these key points are outlined:

  • the training components of football
  • the training-induced adaptations in fitness and health variables
  • the link between football training stimuli to cardiovascular, metabolic and musculoskeletal fitness
  • the use of football in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of non-communicable diseases
  • the psychosocial elements of acute football training, also known as the “Football Fitness” concept
  • the long-term psychosocial training-induced effects of football
  • the possibility of creating adherence to an active lifestyle through football

I’m excited for 2019. A new year with more research, data, ideas and publications. All characteristic of Peter’s work and fuelled by his powerful inner drive to get his message across. This year, Peter accepted Portugal’s warm invitation to publicly display his lifelong work at FIM 2018 and next year, he will do the same in his home country. The FIM 2019 Conference (25-26 January) will be in Odense (Denmark). The official conference site can be found here:

Here at BJSM we expect a great conference, nothing short of Peter’s work and what he stands for. On a personal note, I wish Peter good luck and that the FIM 2019 conference mark another cornerstone of his Football is Medicine global success. It has been and is a pleasure to tag along on this high-speed express train as an avid follower that also champions the message that #FootballisMedicine.

Interested to watch/ read more about the movement and Peter?

Youtube video: Professor Peter Krustrup of Department of Sports Science and Biomechanics at the University of Southern Denmark explains the ‘Football Is Medicine’ platform.

Youtube video: Professor Peter Krustrup at the Football Is Medicine 2018 Conference

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports Editorial (2018): The “Football is Medicine” platform—scientific evidence, large‐scale implementation of evidence‐based concepts and future perspectives

BJSM Editorial (2018) “Football is medicine: it is time for patients to play!”

BJSM Review (2018) “Broad-spectrum physical fitness benefits of recreational football: a systematic review and meta-analysis


Dr. Marcos Agostinho @MarcMedMD is a Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician in Torres Vedras, Portugal where his lifelong passion as a physician is to join both exercise and medicine to optimize everyone’s health. He is currently Deputy Editor of The BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine journal, Associate Editor of The British Journal of Sports Medicine and a Team Member for The Portuguese National Program for the Promotion of Physical Activity (Directorate-General of Health). Email:

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