Which Sports Are Best For Health And Long Life?


Millions of people around the world, including virtually 60% of Americans, Australians and Europeans, participate in athletics. A 2015 review find the available data on long-term health benefits of specific sport disciplines is restriction, but a new survey provides strong evidence participation in several common athletics are connected to a significantly reduced risk of death.

Insufficient physical activity is estimated to cause more than 5 million premature deaths a year. To reduce the risk of heart disease, form 2 diabetes, cancer and a number of other chronic illness, the World Health Organisation recommends adults and older people engage in physical activity for at least 150 minutes a week.

These calculates and guidelines are predominantly based on studies about outcomes of participation in any moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity. But does it make a difference which physical activities we do?

In recent years, there has been growing research interest in how specific domains( such as run, transport, domestic and leisure time) and types of physical activity( walking, cycling) affect health.

While, for example, walking and cycling were found to be associated with similar reductions in death risk, physical activity in the domains of leisure time and daily living seem to produce greater benefits than occupational and transport-related physical activities. This shows that, health-wise, “its not” inevitably irrelevant which physical activity you do.

Which athletics are good for health ?

Adults participating in a high overall level of athletics and exercising are at 34% lower risk of death than the individuals who never or rarely engage in such activities. This generic evidence, however, does not imply all athletics equally affect health.

The previously mentioned 2015 review summarised available data on health benefits of participation in 26 sport disciplines. It find conditional to moderately strong evidence that both work and football improve heart function, aerobic capability, metabolism, balance and weight status. Football was additionally depicted to benefit muscular performance. The evidence for other athletics was scarce or inconsistent.


Football was found to benefit muscle performance, but evidence for other athletics was limited. from www.shutterstock.com

To strengthen the evidence on health benefits of six common sport disciplines aerobics, cycling, football, racquet athletics, operating and swimming we recently analysed data from 80,306 British adults. The survey find 27%, 15%, 47% and 28% reduced risk of death for participants in aerobics, cycling, racquet athletics and swimming, respectively.

Although we find reductions in the risk of death links with football and work( 18% and 13%, respectively) in our study sample, the data did not allow us to draw conclusions about these effects across the whole population. These statistically non-significant associations should not be misinterpreted as no association or evidence of no effect. We simply do not know whether the observed impacts in the sample occurred by chance alone or reflect the true impacts in the population.

Previous studies conducted among Americans, Chinese humen and Danes find a significantly reduced risk( 27% -4 0 %) of death links with operating. The 2015 review identified a number of health benefits associated with football.

Should I play athletics at all ?

Annual trauma rate among all recreational and professional athletes is around 6 %, but incidence, kinds and severity of traumata vary significantly across different athletics. Fortunately, experts advise that up to 50% of sports traumata can be prevented. The risk can be minimised by following Sports Medicine Australias in-depth prevention guidelines in their Injury Fact Sheets.

More than 50 years ago, Winston Churchill was asked to reveal his secret of longevity. Sport, he said. I never, ever got involved in sport.

So should we follow Sir Winstons example, or submitted in accordance with the latest research evidence demonstrating health benefits of athletics? Although a prospect of a sports trauma or other sport-related negative health outcomes( such as sudden death during exercising) can never be ruled out, the health risks benefits of athletics far outweigh the risks.

Which sport to selected ?

It may take decades until we reach definite conclusions about health outcomes of all types of sport. Should you in the meantime sit in front of the Tv and wait for researchers to announce the final results? No. Follow your predilections and select an affordable and easily accessible sporting activity you enjoy doing, while trying to minimise the risk of injury.

This will increase your likelihood of biding sufficiently motivated and engaged in the activity long enough to reap substantial health benefits.

TheZeljko Pedisic, Senior research fellow, Victoria University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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