So you thought that the odd game of touch footy on a Sunday morning was going to save your life, huh? Or maybe you play a bit of “B” Division netball, soccer or basketball once a week. That should keep the ol’ grim reaper from the door, you surmised. Think again. The latest research has found that while its true that the amount, duration and intensity of sporting exercise activity have some impact on likelihood of mortality the kind of sport you participate in plays the most significant role! Some sports are actually much better at keeping you alive and healthy than others.
An international research collaboration, led by University of Sydney, has found that cycling, swimming, aerobics and racquet sports offer life-saving benefits compared to running and football.
Published today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the study also found that death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) was reduced in people who participated in swimming, racquet sports and aerobics.
The study examined 80,000 adults over 30 years of age to investigate the link between participation in six different ‘exercise disciplines’ and death, including cycling, swimming, racquet sports, aerobics, football and running. The researchers drew on responses from 11 nationally representative annual health surveys for England and Scotland, carried out between 1994 and 2008.
Compared with study participants who did not participate in the corresponding sport, risk of death from any cause was:
· 47 per cent lower among those who played racquet sports (tennis, squash, badminton)
· 28 per cent lower among swimmers
· 27 per cent lower among those who participated in aerobics
· 15 per cent lower among cyclists.
Compared with study participants who did not participate in the corresponding sport, risk of death from cardiovascular disease was:
· 56 per cent lower among those who played racquet sports
· 41 per cent lower among swimmers
· 36 per cent lower among those who participated in aerobics.
“Our findings indicate that it’s not only how much and how often, but also what type of exercise you do that seems to make the difference,” said senior author Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the Charles Perkins Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences and School of Public Health at the University of Sydney.
“Participation in specific sports may have various benefits for health. These observations with the existing evidence should support the sport community together with other sectors to design and implement effective health enhancing exercise programs and physical activity in general,” he said.
Future research should aim to further strengthen the sport-specific evidence base and understanding of how to enable greater sports participation for people from all age groups and walks of life.
This research was a large-scale collaboration between University of Sydney, University of Oxford, UKK Institute (Finland), University of Edinburgh, and four other international universities.
The researchers drew on responses from eleven nationally representative baseline health examination surveys carried out in the United Kingdom between 1994 and 2006 which looked at the association between participation in six different sport/exercise disciplines and mortality.
In all, the analysis included 80,306 adults with an average age of 52. In each of the surveys, participants were quizzed about how much physical activity they had done in the preceding 4 weeks, and whether it had been enough to make them breathless and sweaty.
So… it seems we have to put away our joggers and dust off our tennis shoes. Get rid of the footy boots and pull on the swimmers! And if you can stand the bad music pull out your old lycras and head off to the nearest aerobics class. That is if you don’t want to kark it! All that being said, I take my hats off to the “mature” folks who get out and play, no matter what the sport is. Good on the geriatric footballers, touch players, basketballers, netballers, runners and track and fielders. Maybe the data isn’t in yet that shows what you are doing is great but I, for one, think that it is!
Material for this story was first published in a press release from Sydney University. The full study can be found in paper published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine by the collaborating universities.
Reproduced from media material provided by Sydney University. See http://sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2016/11/30/sports-that-will-save-your-life-revealed–new-research.html