/assets/images/headerlogos/GH-logo.svg
Diet & Nutrition

Sports that will save your life

You could be doing them already – and if not? Start now.

By Ellie McDonald
When it comes to thinking about how you can protect your body against harm through exercise, sports like karate, mixed-martial arts and jiu jitsu may come to mind.
However, according to an international research project, four common sports may safeguard your health potentially more than any kung-fu-infused activity can.
Led by the University of Sydney, experts analysed more than 80,000 people over the age of 30 from 1994 through to 2008 to investigate if there is an association between six different types of sporting activities and death.
What they discovered is that cycling, swimming, aerobics and racquet sports can prolong your life in comparison to sports like running and football.
Not only that, but racket sports, in particular, ranked the highest on the life-saving spectrum, with one of the study’s lead researchers, associate professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, University of Sydney, hypothesising that this could be down to the intensity of the sport.
“Think about it: how are racket sports done?” he tells The Weekly.
“First of all, the nature of the activity is short bouts of very intense activity, especially for squash. It almost mimics high-interval training.”
“Another fact of racket sports is that they’re not done alone; they’re done with a friend. So there is a social interaction aspect involved - what we do know is that social interaction is very, very important for many, many health outcomes (psychological and physical).”
“Context is really important, and our study is one of the first to start shedding light on it.”
The study, which was conducted by University of Sydney, University of Oxford, UKK Institute (Finland), University of Edinburgh, plus another four international universities, concluded the following results…
Compared with study participants who did not participate in the corresponding sport, the risk of death from any cause was:
  • 47 per cent lower among those who played racquet sports (tennis, squash, badminton)
  • 28 per cent lower among swimmers
  • 27 per cent lower among those who participated in aerobics
  • 15 per cent lower among cyclists
Compared with study participants who did not participate in the corresponding sport, the risk of death from cardiovascular disease was:
  • 56 per cent lower among those who played racquet sports
  • 41 per cent lower among swimmers
  • 36 per cent lower among those who participated in aerobics
Upon learning of this research, our inclination was to question the socioeconomic status of the study’s participants and whether affluence played any part in how many people engage with traditionally paid-for sports like swimming, cycling, racquet sports and aerobics.
This is a query Professor Stamatakis hopes to research in the future.
Before you change your fitness or diet routine, contact your local GP first.

read more from

/assets/images/headerlogos/GH-logo.svg