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