If you’re re-evaluating your fitness routine in the New Year, listen up. New research shows that three sports are the best contributors to longevity: swimming, aerobics and racquet sports. Today we’re examining the sports that help you live longer.
The study interviewed 80,000 adults who were 30 and older in England and Scotland about their physical activity in the previous four weeks. After nine years nearly 8,800 people had died, over 1,900 of which died of heart disease or stroke. When the data was sorted by sports participation those who took part in swimming, aerobics and racquet sports were less likely to die, in some cases by nearly 50%. These conclusions were drawn after taking into account the subjects’ ages, gender and medical history.
Why are these three sports so great for the body that they may help you live longer?
Make a Splash: Swimming
The research showed that swimmers were 28% less likely to die and 41% less likely to die of heart complications. Swimming is excellent cardiovascular exercise because it uses upper body, lower body and core strength. As you pull your body through the water, you combat water resistance to propel forward. These coordinated actions elevate your heart rate for what can be intense exercise depending on your stroke, speed and amount of time spent swimming. Plus, swimming is a terrific low-impact sport compared to many others that are jarring on joints and bones.
Do a Jig: Aerobics
The study considered dance and gymnastic-type aerobic activity and found that participants were 27% less likly to die and 36% less likely to die of heart disease or stroke. Aerobic exercise elevates your heart rate so your blood pumps faster. Blood delivers oxygen throughout the body, which is critical for every cellular function and strengthens muscles. Additionally, blood carries waste away from cells for elimination.
Swing into Health: Racquet Sports
Racquet sports including tennis, badminton and squash were the most beneficial when it comes to longevity. Players were 47% less likely to die and 56% less likely to die of heart disease or stroke. Racquet sports are considered anaerobic which means you have bursts of high-intensity followed by short periods of rest. Continuously flipping back and forth, which is similar to interval training, is great for cardiovascular strength and may be less stressful on the body than straight aerobic exercise. Also, racquet sports require agility, flexibility, balance and coordination.
As you start working on your New Year’s resolutions, keep these sports that help you live longer in mind.
Sources: Health.com, May Clinic, Everyday Health, and University of Rochester Medical Center