The conversations of life

Want to live longer? Take up tennis, research says


Playing the racquet game can extend your life for up to 10 years, according to a new Danish study looking at the effects of sport on longevity.

Looking at 8,600 healthy participants who had been part of a major heart health study for 25 years, the researchers compared eight sports – tennis, badminton, soccer, cycling, swimming, jogging, calisthenics and going to the gym – with peoples’ lifespans.

The bottom line? Tennis came out on top by 9.7 years, regardless of people’s age, education or socio-economic status.

Badminton also ranked highly (6.2 years) followed by soccer (4.7 years), cycling (3.7 years) and swimming (3.4 years).

There’s no ‘I’ in team

So why is tennis so beneficial?

The researchers say it could be that those people who play tennis simply have more time and money on their hands.

But as socio-economics didn’t play a part, they suspect it’s the social side of racket games and other team sports that seems to help people live longer.

Previous studies have already shown social support eases stress so playing sport with a partner or team could increase the health benefits of the exercise.

The researchers say they still need to do more experiments – but in the meantime, if you run or ride solo, now could be the time to find a group or partner to work out with.

Just a thought.

John McEnroe back in his professional playing days.

With a background in nursing, Annie has spent over 20 years working in the health industry, including the coordination of medical support for international TV productions and major stadium events, plus education campaigns with a number of national health organisations. In recent years, she has also taken time out of the workforce to be a full-time carer, giving her first-hand experience of the challenges and rewards of this role.

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