Published: Thu, December 01, 2016
Medical | By Garry George

Swimming, cycling, aerobics offer 'life-saving benefits': research

Swimming, cycling, aerobics offer 'life-saving benefits': research

But popular sports were also included, such as cycling, swimming, keep-fit, running, football and rugby, and racquet sports.

The researchers hoped to assess the link between certain types of sports and longevity.

Fewer than half the people in the survey met the weekly physical activity quota recommended by health experts.

For each of the sports included, researchers compared the chances of being alive at the end of the study, between people who said they took part in them with people who didn't take part in them.

For some sports, the higher the intensity, duration, and volume, the greater was the reduction in risk, while for others a U shaped curve emerged, indicating that lower intensity might be better than higher intensity or no participation at all. However, if you want to get the most out of exercising and live longer, scientists say there are three sports you should stick to.

The researchers believe that some sports, such as running or football, may also be affected by seasonality or weather which means participants do not keep them up all year round, which limits their long-term benefits.

In terms of exercise, swimming, racquet sports, and aerobics seem to be associated with the best odds of staving off death from any cause and from heart disease and stroke, in particular, suggests research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

However, most cardiovascular diseases are preventable if you tackle the most important risk factors. "The likely reason for them not showing reduced mortality in the fully adjusted analysis was that the participants in these sports were younger than their controls and the participants in the other sports to begin with, and we would need another 5-10 years to follow them in order to find the actual mortality rate", study coauthor Dr. Pekka Oja from the UKK Institute in Finland told the Daily News.

They designed their study to investigate which types of sporting activity provided the strongest beneficial effect. According to the study, runners and joggers saw no benefit at all.

But we should be wary about comparing the types of different sports against each other. The authors say that their data shows that people who do any kind of sport are about 28% less likely to die than those who don't.

Statistician Professor David Spiegelhalter said that making a distinction between the sports was "simply not valid" and the differing results only reflected the small number of deaths among football players and runners.

Not all sports are created equal when it comes to keeping you healthy.

Once you've taken these factors into account, the additional impact of running may be hard to measure.

While the study is observational study and no conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, it should support clinicians to consider sport participation as a way to enhance health, they added.

"There is a certain age limit to how well you can play football or rugby, or go running, to get the needed health benefits. I think you should continue doing what you are doing and what you enjoy doing". The participants, each of whom were over the age of 30, were asked a set of questions regarding their routines, including if their workout was enough to make them "sweaty" or "out of breath".

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