Which sport is the best for our health?

A series of studies over the past few decades have demonstrated that physical activity is beneficial to health. Participating in sports reduces deaths in middle-aged and elderly people. In particular, strong sports activities are considered the most beneficial.

However, to date, exactly what activities are best for longevity have not been thoroughly studied. Previous studies to answer this question are not strong enough.

Therefore, the new study published in the British Journal of Sport Medicine, aims to examine the relationship between sports and death (including cardiovascular death). The study is designed to find out what kind of sports activity is most effective.

Taking data from 11 annual UK and Scottish health surveys from 1994-2008, the team used data from 80,306 adults with an average age of 52.
Each participant was asked about the activities they had done in the previous 4 weeks, and whether the activity was intense enough to make them sweat and breathe quickly.

On average, each person is followed for 9 years. During that time, 8,790 people died and 1,909 of them died of heart disease or stroke

Classifing data by sport

After analyzing the influencing factors, it is possible to measure the difference between different sports activities. Compared with those who do not exercise, the risk of death decreases:

• 47% of those who play racquet sports

• 28% in swimmers

• 27% in people who practice aerobics

• 15% in cyclists.

Perhaps surprisingly, fast cycling, jogging / walking, and football / rugby are not associated with any kind of protection before cardiovascular disease. When comparing joggers and brisk walks with people who do not jog or walk fast, the risk of all-cause mortality decreases by 43% and the risk of cardiovascular disease decreases by 45%; however, when correcting jamming variables, this effect disappears.

Very few respondents said that they played football or rugby often. This may explain the lack of significant health effects. Also, because these sports tend to be seasonal, even an avid football or rugby player may have a long time of not playing a match.