Want to de­lay death? Then swim, dance, or get on court, study shows

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Swim­ming, rac­quet sports and aer­o­bics are as­so­ci­ated with the best odds of staving off death, and in par­tic­u­lar of re­duc­ing the risk of dy­ing from heart dis­ease or stroke, sci­en­tists said on Tues­day.

In a study of var­i­ous types of ex­er­cise and their risk lev­els, the re­searchers found that par­tic­i­pa­tion in spe­cific sports showed sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits for pub­lic health, and urged doc­tors and pol­i­cy­mak­ers to en­cour­age peo­ple to take them up.

While the re­search, pub­lished in the Bri­tish Jour­nal and Sports Medicine, showed no added ad­van­tage for peo­ple who fa­vor run­ning and foot­ball or rugby, in­de­pen­dent ex­perts said this was purely due to the de­sign of the study. “This study must not be mis­in­ter­preted as show­ing that run­ning and foot­ball do not pro­tect against heart dis­ease,” said Tim Chico, a con­sul­tant car­di­ol­o­gist at pro­fes­sor at Bri­tain’s Sh­effield Uni­ver­sity who was asked to com­ment on the find­ings.

The study an­a­lyzed data from 11 an­nual health sur­veys for Eng­land and Scot­land car­ried out be­tween 1994 and 2008, cov­er­ing 80,306 adults with an av­er­age age of 52. Par­tic­i­pants were asked about what type and how much ex­er­cise they had done in the pre­ced­ing four weeks, and whether it had been enough to make them breath­less and sweaty.

Ex­er­cise in­cluded heavy do­mes­tic chores and gar­den­ing; walk­ing; cy­cling; swim­ming; aer­o­bics, gym­nas­tics or dance; run­ning; foot­ball or rugby; and bad­minton, ten­nis or squash. The sur­vival of each par­tic­i­pant was tracked for an av­er­age of nine years, dur­ing which time 8,790 of them died from all causes and 1,909 from heart dis­ease or stroke.

Over­all, com­pared with re­spon­dents who had not done a given sport, risk of death dur­ing the 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 fans and 15 per­cent lower among cy­clists. — Reuters

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