The Sports That Could Actually Save Your Life

Researchers have highlighted the activities that could lead to a long and fulfilling life.

A standard running track.
Survival of the fittest Which sport could lead to a longer life?

It’s no big secret that regular exercise is the key to a healthy life in both body and mind.

However, until now, it’s not always been clear which type of exercise or sport offers the most health benefits for anyone looking to enjoy a long and fruitful life.

That’s all changed with the publication of new research from the University of Sydney, which features in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and closely exams the life saving benefits of sports.

“it’s not only how much and how often, but also what type of exercise you do”

Based on a study of some 80,000 adults over the age of 30, the study looked closely at six different “exercise disciplines” and their life saving benefits.

The six categories were broken down into cycling, swimming, racquet sports, aerobics, football and running with the study looking at the responses gleaned from 11 national annual surveys in England and Scotland carried out between 1994 and 2008.

Researchers uncovered some interesting findings too, with the figures suggesting that activities like cycling, swimming, aerobics and racquet sports like tennis actually boasted more life saving benefits than traditionally more popular activities like running or football.

Death from cardiovascular disease statistics were significantly down among those who engaged in the aforementioned activities, while the study also showed that the risk of death from any cause was:

  • 47 per cent lower among those who played racquet sports (tennis, squash, badminton)
  • 28 per cent lower among swimmers
  • 27 per cent lower among those who participated in aerobics
  • 15 per cent lower among cyclists.

Meanwhile, the study showed that, compared with study participants who did not participate in the corresponding sport, risk of death from cardiovascular disease was:

  • 56 per cent lower among those who played racquet sports
  • 41 per cent lower among swimmers
  • 36 per cent lower among those who participated in aerobics.

Emmanuel Stamatakis, senior author and Associate Professor from the Charles Perkins Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences and School of Public Health at the University of Sydney said:

“Our findings indicate that it’s not only how much and how often, but also what type of exercise you do that seems to make the difference.”

It might be time to dust off the Speedos or follow the path of Andy Murray and take up a spot of tennis. Not so sure about the aerobics though – no one ever looks good in lycra.

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.