Want to Live Long? Golf Just as Good as Cycling, Rowing
Study of nearly 10K Olympians showed high cardio doesn't help mortality
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2012 12:53 PM CST
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Golf may be "a good walk, spoiled," but at least it doesn't spoil your life expectancy. In fact, a new study finds that heavy cardio sports like cycling and rowing do nothing to help you live longer than playing golf or cricket, reports the Wall Street Journal. Researchers looked at mortality rates in 9,889 Olympic athletes who completed from 1896 to 1936 in 43 types of sports, and surprisingly found that those who competed in intense activities did not live any longer than those who curled, shot guns, played cricket, or golfed.

"Engaging in cycling and rowing (high cardiovascular intensity) had no added survival benefit compared with playing golf or cricket (low cardiovascular intensity)," says the study. One theory is that intensive exercise over the long-term also leads to injuries and damage that balance out the benefits of such exercise. "Over time, this will result in an accumulation of damage, which can be explained as a form of aging," says a study author. You can read the original BMJ article here.

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Showing 3 of 8 comments
RaymeeDotCom
Dec 15, 2012 11:37 PM CST
Cycling, golf? Why live longer if one has to dress so badly.
Riddler13
Dec 15, 2012 9:20 AM CST
The conclusions here are perhaps interesting but wholly suspect given the population. In reading the study, I did not see appropriate researcher caution in explaining results. (I'm a Ph.D. trained researcher myself). With a population of Olympic athletes, we can (I think, should) assume ALL these athletes, given their commitment as evidenced by Olympic participation and success, were highly active and likely to be broadly conditioned. It seems unlikely that Olympic golfers simply confined their conditioning to practicing golf but also did a lot of cardio and upper body training. They weren't simply weekend enthusiasts and likely lived within a community that supported conditioning. This would be unlike a modern recreational golfer who alternates golf with couch-potato-dom. I DID (as an avid cyclist) appreciate the observation that injuries from more active sports may counterbalance health effects. That will stay with me.
boxcar
Dec 14, 2012 6:32 PM CST
In order for humans to stand erect they need 3 hearts for the 6ft head of blood pressure req'd to pump blood up to the head (brain). Animals who do NOT stand erect can get along with only ONE heart since blood pressure reqts are less for a body mass that is essentially horizontal as opposed to a vertical body mass. Guess where our TWO Auxilliary pumps are? In the CALF muscle are one way valves that not only act as check valves to prevent blood pooling in the lower legs, but when the CALF muscle is used (as in walking) it compresses the large arteries passing thru it to squeeze blood pressure upwards to assist in pumping blood up to the brain. Doctors tell us its good for our health to WALK, but they never say why because they probably don't know- Take a look at the ankles of dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.......NONE of these animals have CALF MUSCLES anywhere near as prominent in a human because they do NOT stand erect, therefore don't need CALFS- Before CARS, people did a lot of walking & used bicycles that helped keep their CALF muscles active thereby OFF-LOADING any demands that might be placed on their single main heart- that's not true since last half of the 20th Century when the huge postwar baby boom population occured. Now those baby boomers are aging and we are seeing end of life results from not paying attention to USING our CALF muscles. PS- its also why mountain people live longer- they are always going up and down in elevation, using CALVES