Objective: To evaluate the differential improvements in life expectancy associated with participation in various sports.
Patients and methods: The Copenhagen City Heart Study (CCHS) is a prospective population study that included detailed questionnaires regarding participation in different types of sports and leisure-time physical activity. The 8577 participants were followed for up to 25 years for all-cause mortality from their examination between October 10, 1991, and September 16, 1994, until March 22, 2017. Relative risks were calculated using Cox proportional hazards models with full adjustment for confounding variables.
Results: Multivariable-adjusted life expectancy gains compared with the sedentary group for different sports were as follows: tennis, 9.7 years; 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, 1.5 years.
Conclusion: Various sports are associated with markedly different improvements in life expectancy. Because this is an observational study, it remains uncertain whether this relationship is causal. Interestingly, the leisure-time sports that inherently involve more social interaction were associated with the best longevity-a finding that warrants further investigation.
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