Regularly playing squash could help stave off death the longest, a study suggests.
Scientists have narrowed down the sports and types of exercises that are linked to significantly lower odds of dying before those who do not do those activities. Racket sports, swimming, aerobics and cycling seem to be the best for prolonging life, the research concluded. Meanwhile, those who enjoy swimming, aerobics and racket sports such as squash, badminton and tennis also have a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases such as strokes.
The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, examined information on more than 80,000 adults across England and Scotland who took part in UK health surveys between 1994 and 2008. In each of the surveys participants, who had an average age of 52, were quizzed about what type of physical activity - and how much of it - they had done in the preceding months.
When the researchers looked at risk of death from heart disease and stroke, they found that playing racket sports was associated with a 56 per cent lower risk, swimmers had a 41 per cent lower risk and aerobics participants had a 36 per cent lower risk compared with those who did not participate in these sports.
"We found robust associations between participation in certain types of sport and exercise and mortality, indicating substantial reductions in all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality for swimming, racquet sports and aerobics and in all-cause mortality for cycling," wrote the researchers, from Australia, Finland and Oxford University.
Learn more about why you should be playing squash here.