History has proven that we are going to live a lot longer than our ancestors, whether we like it or not!
Our emergent longevity can be credited in part to an increase in physical activity, but have you ever questioned which specific types of exercise have the most beneficial health effects?
While vigorous activity has been shown to produce the most benefits, the kinds of exercise that are best for longevity have yet to be fully examined. Until now.
Recently, research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, explored the relationship between sports and mortality (including cardiovascular-based mortality). The study used data from 11 annual health surveys for England and Scotland between 1994-2008, taking information from 80,306 adults with an average age of 52. The participants were asked which activities they had preformed in the previous four weeks and whether the activity was intense enough to trigger sweat and breathlessness. The declared activities ranged from household chores to swimming, cycling, aerobics, running, racket sports, and football/rugby.
Each individual was monitored for an average of nine years, during which time only 44 percent of the participants actually met the accepted recommendations for physical activity.
The results showed a significant decrease in mortality for subjects who participated in any sport. With a significant reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease was visible for both swimming and aerobics and the biggest reduction going to...racket sport players! Cycling and running were not linked to protection from cardiovascular disease, which may surprise some avid marathoners.
These results aid us in understanding the way specific activities affect our bodies. With this awareness we are moved to take action in the present, so that the future may be a little smoother. The bottom line rings true: consistent physical activity, in any form, is one of the best things you can do for your health.