Are you hoping to delay the inevitable embrace of death? If so, you may be interested in some new research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
In a study on various types of exercise and their risk levels, scientists concluded that those who partake in swimming, racquet sports and aerobics have the best odds of increasing their lifespans – in particular, these sports are most likely to reduce the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.
The study looked at data from 11 annual health surveys in England and Scotland conducted between 1994 and 2008, which covered a total of 80,306 adults with an average age of 52.
Participants in these studies were asked about what kinds of exercise they had done in the last month, and how much of it they did. Exercises in the survey included gardening, walking, cycling, swimming, aerobics, gymnastics or dance, running, football or rugby and badminton, tennis or squash.
Each participant was tracked for roughly nine years after the survey, during which time 8,790 of them died from various causes and 1,909 from heart disease or stroke.
Compared to participants who hadn’t participated in one of the given sports, risk of death during this follow up period from any cause was 47 percent lower among those who played racquet sports, 28 percent lower among swimmers, 27 percent lower among dance aerobics enthusiasts and 15 percent lower among cyclists. In deaths from heart disease and stroke, racquet sports players had a 56 percent lower risk, swimmers had a 41 percent lower risk aerobics fans had a 36 percent lower risk compared to those who didn’t play these sports.
Tim Chico, a consultant cardiologist at Britain's Sheffield University who was asked to comment on the results, added that the study found that both runners and footballers had a lower chance of death from heart disease.
"Although this was not 'statistically significant', many other studies have found that runners live longer and suffer less heart disease," said Chico.
"I will continue to tell my patients that regular physical activity (including running) is more effective in reducing their risk of heart disease than any drug I can prescribe."