Want to live a long life? Take up tennis
People who play tennis, badminton or squash have the lowest risk of early death, according to a new study.
Sport is known to be beneficial to health, but it has long been unclear which activities are the most beneficial in the long term.
A study conducted in England and Scotland, which involved more than 80,000 adults and tracked them for almost 10 years, surveyed respondents on what sports they like to practice and their physical training. The research found that people who played racket sports are 47 per cent less likely to die of any possible cause than their sedentary counterparts, as well as 59 per cent less likely to die because of a cardiovascular disease.
However, if these sports don't appeal to you, you can always take swimming lessons. While every sport has its benefits, people who swim were found to be 28 per cent less likely to die of any reason and 41 per cent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease, compared to people who did not exercise.
Another type of activity that also prevents people from developing health issues is fitness - anything from aerobics to Zumba can help boost the metabolism. People who do regular fitness are found to be 27 per cent less likely to die of any cause and 36 per cent less likely to die because of a cardiovascular disease. Cycling, running, jogging, football and rugby were not associated with a significantly reduced risk of dying from heart disease, claimed the research.
But they say that in the case of football and rugby, so few of those taking part in the study played these games that it would be tough to measure their effect.
In all, the study authors conclude, "These findings demonstrate that participation in specific sports may have significant benefits for public health."
Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, added, "For most people, the motivation to engage in sport related physical activity is, and should remain, enjoyment of the sport, and team camaraderie that is linked to team games... If you enjoy running or football, do not let these finding put you off."
The study was published in British Journal of Sports Medicine.