Court­ing a longer life

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - LIFE | HEALTHY LIVING - JUNA XU www.bodyand­soul.com.au

WANT to add 10 years to your life? Hit up the tennis court.

Fol­low­ing their re­view of a 25-year Dan­ish study, in­ter­na­tional sci­en­tists dis­cov­ered peo­ple who play tennis live al­most a decade longer than seden­tary peo­ple, and even stick around longer than jog­gers and cy­clists.

The team of re­searchers turned to a data re­source they had used for a pre­vi­ous jog­ging study, the Copen­hagen City Heart Study, which tracked the lives and health of thou­sands of men and women in Copen­hagen.

The study’s par­tic­i­pants had all com­pleted health ex­ams and ques­tion­naires about their life­styles, and how of­ten they took part in eight sports com­mon in Den­mark, in­clud­ing badminton, run­ning, soc­cer, swim­ming and tennis.

They then cross-ref­er­enced records with the Na­tional Death Reg­istry to find out whether any of th­ese peo­ple had died and, if so, when.

Ac­tiv­i­ties and life spans were then com­pared.

Pub­lished in the Mayo Clinic

Pro­ceed­ings, the study found that peo­ple who had re­ported to al­most never ex­er­cise were more than likely to have died in the later decades.

The re­sults also found that cy­cling was the most pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity among the par­tic­i­pants, and those who rode for four or more hours ev­ery week added an av­er­age of 3.7 years to their lives.

Run­ning was as­so­ci­ated with an ex­tra 3.2 years of life, badminton was linked to an ex­tra 6.2 years and soc­cer added five years to play­ers’ lives.

But the most no­tice­able data re­vealed those who played tennis had an av­er­age of 9.7 years added to their lives. It is also im­por­tant to note that th­ese as­so­ci­a­tions re­mained un­changed even when the re­searchers took into ac­count the par­tic­i­pant’s ed­u­ca­tion, so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus and age.

The study’s co-au­thor Dr James O’Keefe ex­plained this may have some­thing to do with the fact that tennis en­cour­ages you to be more so­cial – a ma­jor health-booster when it comes to age­ing.

“We know from other re­search that so­cial sup­port pro­vides stress mit­i­ga­tion,” he said.

“So be­ing with other peo­ple, play­ing and in­ter­act­ing with them, as you do when you play games that re­quire a part­ner or a team, prob­a­bly has unique psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­o­log­i­cal ef­fects,” he said.

PHOTO: ISTOCK

RAISE A RAC­QUET: Sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered peo­ple who play tennis live al­most a decade longer than seden­tary peo­ple.

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