A pilot study using a small-sided games program to modify cardiovascular health in sedentary Indigenous men

Publication Name

Health Promotion Journal of Australia


Issues addressed: To determine cardiovascular health benefits in Indigenous men following short-duration small-sided games. Methods: Fourteen sedentary Indigenous males (35.6 SD 7.2 years), randomly assigned to a small-sided games (SSG) or a non-exercising control. Small-sided 20-minute (4 × 5 minute bouts) games of touch football were played 2 x/week for 9 weeks. Waist and hip circumferences, height, total body mass (kg), fat (%), fat free mass (kg), muscle mass (kg), resting heart rate (bpm), systolic blood pressure (mmHg), total cholesterol and high-density lipid concentrations were measured and waist-hip ratios, body mass index (BMI), heart rate variability (HRV), metabolic age and Framingham risk calculated before and after the exercise intervention. Between group differences were examined using unpaired t tests (welch corrected) and described using Cohen's effect size (ES) differences (corrected to determine hedges g). Results: Significant between group differences favouring the SSG group were observed in body mass (P =.039, ES = 0.18), BMI (P =.031, ES = 0.22) and metabolic age (P =.033, ES = 0.29) and in HRV parameters of approximate entropy (ApEN; P =.01, ES = 1.65) and sample entropy (SampEN; P =.0193, ES = 1.40). Conclusion: Middle-aged Indigenous men can gain cardiovascular health benefits following short bouts of small-sided game play accumulating in 40-minutes of exercise each week. So what?: Short-duration SSG may address many exercise barriers, and offer a sustainable form of exercise to improve cardiovascular health amongst Indigenous men.

Open Access Status

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Funding Sponsor

National Heart Foundation of Australia



Link to publisher version (DOI)