Researchers followed 80,306 adults over the course of nine years, tracking the relationship between mortality and participation in six sport activities.
In total, only 44.3 percent of the study's 80,306 participants met minimum exercise recommendations. And while tennis proved to be the most effective means of combating premature death, only 3.6 percent of those surveyed said they played racket sports. (Photo by Thinkstock.)
A study of more than 80,000 adults found that engaging in racket sports, swimming or aerobics is the most effective way to prevent premature death, especially one brought about by cardiovascular disease. Running, on the other hand, had no measurable effect.
The study, published Nov. 28 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, surveyed 80,306 adults over the course of nine years.
Below is a list of tracked activities and how less likely the exerciser is to die prematurely, followed by how less likely the cause of death will be cardiovascular disease.
1. Tennis, badminton or squash: 47 percent less likely (general); 56 percent less likely (cardiovascular disease)
2. Swimming: 28 percent; 41 percent
3. Aerobics (such as Zumba): 27 percent; 36 percent
4. Cycling: 15 percent; no measurable effect
5. Running: No measurable effect; no measurable effect
6. Soccer or rugby: No measurable effect; no measurable effect
Importantly, these results correspond only to those surveyed during the study’s time frame. (It is well-documented that regularly engaging in any moderate-to-vigorous activity significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, the No. 1 cause of death globally.)
The results took into account each participants’ education level, general health, body mass index, and smoking and drinking habits, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.
In total, 43,705 women and 36,601 men participated in the research. Average participant age was 52.
A grim reality: 8,790 participants died during the survey, including 1,909 as a result of heart-related disease, according to the Washington Post.
Of the surveyed activities, swimming was most popular among participants (13.4 percent participation), followed by cycling (9.9 percent), aerobics (6.4 percent), running (5 percent), racket sports (3.6 percent), and soccer or rugby (3.1 percent).
In total, only 44.3 percent of study participants met minimum exercise recommendations, according to the Los Angeles Times.