Posted on Sep 30, 2018, 8 p.m.
Leisure sports such as badminton, tennis, soccer, and swimming may translate to considerably higher life expectancy over running alone on a treadmill, as published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
In an observational study investigating the links between longevity and 8 leisure time sports activities that involved 8677 participants all of the sports were variable adjusted and associated with longer lifespan gains: tennis being the top longevity gain of 9.7 years, badminton had 6.2 years, soccer 4.7, cycling 3.7, swimming 3.4, jogging 3.2, calisthenics 3.1, and solitary health club activities had 1.5 year gains. 12% of the cohort reported being sedentary and 66% reported being involved in at least one of the 8 selected sports. Subjects were followed for up to 25 years from 1991 to 2004 until 2017; 4448 participants died during the timeframe.
Findings were inline with other studies which consistently show that social isolation is among the strongest predictors of reduced life expectancy. Social isolation has been reported to pose the same risk for premature death as some traditional medical factors such as hypertension, and can increase likelihood of cardiovascular events.
Sedentary subjects in this group tended to be older with a mean age of 61 years; the youngest subject with a mean age of 39 tending to play soccer, which was followed by joggers with a mean age of 40. At 56% participation cycling was the most prevalent activity. Women were more likely to swim or do calisthenics, and men were more predominate in soccer, tennis, and badminton.
Average weekly volume for activities was 411 minutes, but varied from 58 for swimmers, 103 minutes for tennis, to 386 for cyclists who spent more than twice the amount of time to pedaling than any other sport. The longest total duration of all activities combined was those of health club goers at 599 minutes per week on average, who experienced the smallest gain in terms of longevity in this study.
Golf was noted to be associated with a variety of robust health benefits in other studies, including a separate large observational study reporting regular play could raise life expectancy by as much as 5 years.
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