Many types of exercise are linked to a lower risk of premature death, but activities like racquet sports, swimming and aerobics seem best at improving people's chances of staving off an early demise, according to a new study.
Researchers found that people in the study who regularly played racquet sports had a 47 percent lower risk of dying over the course of the nine-year study than people who did not regularly engage in such sports. And people who regularly went swimming had a 28 percent lower risk of an early death during the study than those who did not regularly swim, the researchers found.
Moreover, people who regularly did aerobics had a 27 percent lower risk of dying during the course of the nine-year study than people who did not regularly do such activity, the researchers found. [The 4 Types of Exercise You Need to Be Healthy]
"These findings demonstrate that participation in specific sports may have significant benefits for public health," the researchers, at the UKK Institute in Finland and the University of Sydney in Australia, wrote in the study, published Tuesday (Nov. 29) in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
In the study, the researchers asked more than 80,000 people whether they had exercised in the past month and, if they had, what types of exercise they had done. The people were 52 years old, on average, at the start of the study; the researchers then followed the participants for nine years, on average. During the course of the study, 8,790 of the participants died.
The researchers found that the people who reported swimming, doing aerobics or playing racquet sports in the past month at the start of the study were less likely to die during the study period than those who had not engaged in these activities in the past month at the start of the study.
In addition, the researchers found that the people who reported cycling in the past month at the start of the study were 15 percent less likely to die during the study than those who did not report cycling in the past month at the start of the study. [The Odds of Dying from Shark Attacks, Tsunamis & Dozens of Other Causes]
Those study participants who ran or jogged, and those who played football or rugby did not have a lower risk of dying during the study period than those who did not engage in these sports, the researchers also found.
However, the results don't prove that engaging in certain types of physical activities directly causes people to live longer, the researchers noted. Rather, the findings suggest that there is a link between these activities and a longer life, the study said.
The research did not look at why certain sports may help people to live longer than others.
Originally published on Live Science.
Live Science newsletter
Stay up to date on the latest science news by signing up for our Essentials newsletter.