Playing Badminton Could Increase your Life By 6.2 Years, Study Finds

Marcus Ellis
Photo Credit: Chris Do

While it’s no secret that regularly playing badminton offers numerous health benefits, a new study has revealed that it can also add about 6.2 years to your life.

According to a recent study in Denmark, badminton and a few other “social sports” can extend people’s longevity even better than solitary exercises.

Based on the findings of the Copenhagen City Heart Study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings earlier this year, adults who frequently participated in badminton, tennis or other racket and team sports, such as soccer, lived longer than people who were sedentary.

Interestingly, the researchers also found that these “social sports” players also lived longer than people who took part in solitary activities such as jogging, swimming and cycling.

Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute cardiologist Dr. James O’Keefe, one of the co-authors of the study, noted that the social interaction involved in partner and team sports help boost the health benefits of physical activity.

“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,” Dr. O’Keefe was quoted as saying.

“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.”

While many recent epidemiological studies have already linked regular exercise to longevity, it is the first time social interactions in such activities are found to augment its benefits.

The research involved 8,500 adults in Copenhagen who were tasked to completed a comprehensive health and lifestyle questionnaire about how often they took part in eight sports common in Denmark, which include cycling, swimming, running, tennis, soccer and badminton.

The participants, who were all white and without any history of heart disease, stroke or cancer, were monitored by the researchers for around 25 years. During the period, about 4,500 died.

Unsurprisingly, people who had reported almost never exercising were found to be more likely to have died in the ensuing decades than the active ones.

It was the associations between particular activities and life span that offered surprising results.

The research team found that those who reported playing tennis as their main form of exercise could expect to add 9.7 years to their lifespan while those who played badminton regularly may live 6.2 years longer than those who live a sedentary lifestyle.

Meanwhile, soccer players add 4.7 years to their life, followed by cycling (3.7 years), swimming (3.4 years), jogging (3.2 years), calisthenics (3.1 years) and health club activities (1.5 years).

The associations reportedly stayed pretty much the same even when the researchers controlled for people’s education, socioeconomic status and age.

“We know from other research that social support provides stress mitigation,” Dr. O’Keefe further noted.

“So being with other people, playing and interacting with them, as you do when you play games that require a partner or a team, probably has unique psychological and physiological effects.”

O’Keefe, whose exercise regimen typically includes running and weightlifting, revealed that due to the findings, he and his family have picked recently started playing badminton, reports Time.

“You can’t play badminton without feeling like a kid again,” he was quoted as saying. “It’s just pure fun.”

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