Did you know that there are sports that extend life? According to a study published by the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, there are exercises that can improve health by lengthening the years of life. These, accompanied by a healthy diet, can be the secret of longevity. In the next lines we will tell you what those sports are, so you can start practicing them now.

How did you determine which are the sports that extend life?

For this study, 80,306 adults with an average age of 52 years were taken as a sample. Surveys were conducted, where they were asked about the types of exercises they practiced, how much physical activity they had done during the last four weeks. And, if they have finished the physical activity out of breath and sweating.

The study included some heavy housework and the six most popular forms of sport practiced as physical activity are: cycling, swimming, fitness exercises (such as aerobics, gymnastics and dance), running, walking, football, rugby, badminton, tennis and squash.

A little more than 44% of those interviewed met the recommended weekly quota of physical activity. Each participant’s survival was followed over an average of nine years, during which 8,790 of them died from any cause and 1,909 from heart disease.

After taking into account potentially influential factors, analysis of the pooled data indicated probabilities of death that vary by type of sport. In general, people who played racket sports (tennis, badminton and squash) had a 47% lower risk of death than those who had not played a specific sport. While those who practiced swimming had a 28% lower. Those who did aerobics 27% less and 15% less among those who did cycling. Among those who were runners or those who played football or rugby the study did not find associations of this type.

On the other hand, when analyzing the risk of death from heart disease and stroke, they determined that those who played racket sports had 56% less risk. Those of swimming 41% and 36% for those who did aerobic exercises.

Neither cycling, running, nor playing soccer or rugby were associated with a significant reduction in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, according to the study.

So what are the sports that lengthen life?

among the sports that extend life, the one who takes the first place is tennis. According to this study, you can live up to 10 years if you play tennis regularly. This is more than for the benefits it brings at a cardiovascular level, it is because it is a social sport. According to experts, interacting with other people while exercising makes people feel connected and loved, improving their longevity.

In the second and third position among sports that extend life is badminton. This, according to the study, can offer up to six more years of life. And then football, which can give us almost five more years. They are sports in which resistance and teamwork are worked, but apparently they are not as complete as tennis.

In the following positions were the sports of less intensity. Swimming is fourth on the list, giving us 3.4 years of extra life. The fast walk follows, with 3.2 years; and finally gymnastics, with 3.1 years.

Running makes us happier

Although it is not in the first sports that lengthen life, the fact that it makes us happy increases our life expectancy. This is because running releases endorphins, also known as the hormones of happiness. In addition, it is very beneficial for our mental health helping, among other things, to combat anxiety and stress.

Among other benefits for our well-being, it makes us work on self-control, improve our self-esteem and, more importantly, prevent certain diseases such as diabetes, dementia and neurodegenerative diseases.

This is due to the effect of several neurobiological mechanisms, such as increased levels of BNF in the brain, a protein that stimulates the growth and longevity of neurons, and norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that improves attention and concentration.

Why do some sports help to live longer than others?

Dr. James O’Keefe, co-director of the study on sports that extend life and a cardiologist at Saint Luke Hospital in Kansas City, in the United States, says that it is impossible, at this time, to know why some sports are more beneficial than others, since we are talking about light and non-professional practices.

The co-director of the study focuses his speculations on the possibility that social relationships are the determining point. Other studies have shown that bonding reduces stress. So playing sports and interacting with other people in games or team sports can have physical and psychological effects on those who play them. «Taking care of the heart is important, but it seems that connecting with other people is also important.»

Play sports in moderation

This does not mean that you should go out and play tennis or badminton in despair. Experts recommend doing sports in moderation. This is only because of the injuries that can be suffered if we put our body to the limit, but also because it can affect our mental health.

Likewise, it has been proven that those who exercise regularly saw more positive results than those who went to the gym or did sports more than 5 times a week.

Now that you know which are the sports that extend life, you can start practicing them in moderation. Remember that it is also important to maintain an active social life in order to be happier. Group sports are the key to live longer.