Fitness and aging: the activities that increase life expectancy
A new research that analyzed the habits of more than 8 thousand adults over 25 years found that not all sports disciplines have the same impact on life expectancy. Which are linked to significantly greater probabilities of living longer
Being active is good for health on many levels. Leading a lifetime of physical training helps keep the heart in shape, control body weight and improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Exercise is also related – based on decades of study – with benefits for the brain and a lower risk of some types of cancer. Even so, there are types of activities that are more productive for the general welfare thinking in the future.
Throughout the years hundreds of investigations were carried out trying to elucidate the income that physical activity provides. One of the last was the so-called Copenhagen City Heart Study, led by a group of international specialists, which was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The analysis followed the sports habits of 8,577 people from the Danish capital in just over 25 years (period from October 1991 to March 2017). The objective was to look for links between different modalities and longevity.
To do this, they compared life expectancies among those who frequented the practice of some type of sport and those who maintained sedentary habits. The results positioned tennis as the most productive, since those who played it lived an average of 9.7 years more than those who did not play sports.
When it came to other activities, the same item varied as follows: badminton (common among Danes), 6.2 years; soccer, 4.7 years; cycling, 3.7 years; swimming, 3.4 years; jogging, 3.2 years and calisthenics (exercises using body weight as a tool), 3.1 years
“Several sports are associated with markedly different improvements in life expectancy,” the researchers point out in the study. The associations did not vary in relation to the education of those involved, the socioeconomic level and age. “Because this is an observational study, it remains uncertain whether this relationship is causal,” they add.
And they focus on one issue: “Interestingly, leisure-time sports that intrinsically involve more social interaction were associated with better longevity, a finding that deserves further investigation.” To this was referred James O’Keefe, co-author of the study and director of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute.
O’Keefe commented that it is known from other research that “social support provides stress mitigation”, so “when playing and interacting with other people, as in games that require a partner or a team, it probably has psychological and physiological effects. unique “, amplifying the benefits of the exercise.
The conclusions of this new work coincide with another carried out on a large scale by the University of Oxford and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which included data on 80,306 women and men, with an average of 52 years, corresponding to the time between 1994 and 2008.
That took as a parameter the realization of any type of physical activity, be it from domestic chores or dance classes to the practice of sports itself. During the period of the investigated period, 8,790 of them died, including 1,909 of cardiovascular diseases.
And he revealed that people who played racquet sports – as tennis, squash or badminton – more regularly were the least likely to die. This group reduced the causes of death by 47% and 56% in cases related to heart problems.
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