A recent study found that the social interactions in which people who participate in team sports get are far more beneficial than exercising alone, potentially even adding years to your life.
Those who regularly train or exercise by themselves may well wish to look to add a partner to their programme or get involved in team sports, with research suggesting that disciplines including football, tennis and badminton are better for life expectancy.
Of course, any form of exercise is better than no physical activity at all, however those who partake in sports such as swimming, running or individual gym workouts are potentially missing out on important social interaction.
The study, carried out by the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, found that social connections are hugely important for both our mental and physical wellbeing, as well as potentially even our longevity. As a result, those who are looking to improving their chances of a long life should well consider participating in sports with other people.
An additional piece of research, this time undertaken in Denmark, monitored over 8,500 adults in terms of their exercise regimes, with the results showing that those who did not exercise at all being at the biggest threat of death. However, there was a clear association with team sports and longevity too, with tennis players having an extra 9.7 years of life on average, along with 6.2 years with badminton and 5 years for footballers.
Such figures are especially interesting when compared to those who were involved in individual sports, with cyclists having an extra 3.7 years of life on average, while runners achieved an additional 3.2 years.
The fact that team sports allow for both exercise and socialising effectively means that the benefits are magnetised, with cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and emotional bonding advantages all being on offer. It has long been understood that being alone for extended periods is bad for cardiovascular health, with research from the University of Helsinki suggesting that those who do not have a strong social network are at a greater risk of having a stroke or heart attack. As a result, those who are able to find people with similar interests through sport are likely to reap the rewards in the long run.
For those who are not as socially interactive as they would like to be, be sure to check out the local sports clubs available to you, whether it be a sports league or fitness class. Such platforms are perfect for meeting new people, who are likely to share similar goals and lifestyles as you.
Schoolgirls within the UK are being offered workout videos in an attempt to encourage them to exercise, due to the fact that they do not enjoy team sports. So, just how will this radical new government scheme help to tackle a lack of participation?