A new study shows that participating in team sports can extend your life span. And participating in team tennis extends the greatest benefits of any sport.
The study, which took place at St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo., found that engaging in sports that require multi-player involvement may be more beneficial for increasing your lifespan than individual exercise.
Tennis players averaged an additional 9.7 years onto their life span, compared to 6.2 years for badminton players, while soccer players averaged an additional 4.7 years, bicyclists an additional 3.7 years, swimmers an additional 3.4 years, joggers an additional 3.2 years, calisthenics enthusiasts an additional 3.1 years, and health club members an additional 1.5 years.
The participants were tracked by investigators for up to 25 years.
Researchers compared this information with the volunteers’ medical records and discovered that sports requiring multiple players were strongly associated with a longer lifespan. Whether you are on a team or just exercising with a partner for a sport like tennis, you receive the motivation to boost your fitness and not skip workouts — but even more important, an enjoyable interaction with friends.
And maintaining a good social network is very important, as shown in a 2016 study at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia which found that people who belong to at least one social group live longer than those who don’t.
This is in stark contrast to the typical American, where close to 80 percent of adults do not meet physical activity recommendations. Give a social sport or two a try as well. Even if you’re a beginner, you may find that the fun of playing with others creates such an enjoyable environment that you will soon have a new favorite activity.
To read the full story go to jonbarron.org/exercise/get-competitive-spirit.