Not only are team sports sociable they might help you to live longer too. According to a new epidemiological study of Danish men and women playing sports with other people over exercising alone can add years to your life.
While there’s no doubt that solitary activities such as jogging, swimming and cycling are good for your health – certainly a lot better than sitting around doing nothing – this study shows that social interaction while keeping fit can help you live longer.
“For both mental and physical well-being and longevity, we’re understanding that our social connections are probably the single-most important feature of living a long, healthy, happy life,” says study co-author cardiologist Dr. James O’Keefe. “If you’re interested in exercising for health and longevity and well-being, perhaps the most important feature of your exercise regimen is that it should involve a playdate.”
The study was based on approximately 8,500 adults – who completely extensive questionnaires about their health and lifestyle – who were monitored, and asked about the types of exercise they did for around 25 years.
A clear correlation between social sports and longevity was noted.
Compared to sedentary people they found that those who reported playing tennis as their main form of exercise could expect to live 9.7 years longer, badminton 6.2 years, soccer, 4.7 years, cycling 3.7 years, swimming 3.4 years, jogging 3.2 years, calisthenics, 3.1 years and health club activities, such as the gym, 1.5 years.
“When we try to just go and work out to get our heart rate up, it still feels good,” said Dr. O’Keefe.. “But it doesn’t leave you as relaxed and happy as, say, going to play a game of basketball or golf.”
As for why tennis likely took the top spot?
“At every point you’re talking. It’s just a very natural way to emotionally bond with people, besides getting your exercise.”
The findings were published in the journal of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.