If there is a “universal prescription” that can control blood pressure, blood sugar, improve sleep quality, relieve anxiety, prevent cancer, and even prevent more than 40 chronic diseases, that would be “exercise”.
However, with so many types of exercises, which one is more beneficial to the health of the general population? Which one can lower the risk of death and promote longevity?
A 15-year investigation involving 80,000 people published in the renowned medical journal “The Lancet” provides the answer:
The researchers analyzed the relationship between different types of exercises and all-cause mortality and found that the top three exercises with the best cost-effectiveness are:
First place racket sports (table tennis, badminton, etc.), which can reduce the risk of all-cause mortality by 47%;
Second place swimming, which can reduce the risk of all-cause mortality by 28%;
Third place aerobic exercise, which can reduce the risk of all-cause mortality by 27%. These three types of exercises have the most obvious impact on health and longevity.
So why do these three types of exercise have such great benefits? Who are they more suitable for? Let’s take a look with Coco!
Racket sports reduce overall mortality by 47%.
Studies have shown that people who engage in racket sports such as table tennis, tennis, and badminton can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by about 56% compared to those who do not engage in physical activity. If they can achieve the recommended amount of exercise, they can reduce overall mortality by about 47%.
Why can tennis be rated as the “best sport”? It is closely related to the following benefits:
- Exercise multiple muscle groups and strengthen bones
During the process of hitting the ball, all muscles in the body can be exercised. The swinging motion can stimulate the biceps and triceps muscles, effectively enhancing the strength of the shoulder and arm muscles. In addition, constantly moving and jumping can also strengthen the muscles in the lower limbs and waist. With stronger muscles, bones will be healthier, and aging will be slower.
- Improve body coordination
When playing tennis, not only do you need to make quick judgments, but your limbs also need to react immediately. This can improve agility, coordination, and reaction time.
- Eye and Brain Health
Before hitting the ball, the eyes must judge the path of the ball, and the brain must quickly make judgments about the speed, angle, and strength of the ball. This exercise is beneficial for eye and brain health, as it can maintain the agility of thinking and improve reaction and memory.
- When choosing racket sports, middle-aged and elderly friends should consider their own conditions, such as whether there are primary diseases or injuries in the knees, ankles, and shoulder joints. Sports like badminton and tennis generally have higher physical requirements, so choose carefully. Table tennis is recommended as it has lower activity level and smaller court size.
- Pay attention to the correct exercise posture during exercise to reduce mechanical movements and avoid sports injuries. If you feel soreness in the elbow joint, stop stretching immediately.
Relax your whole body before catching the ball, and use your upper arm to drive your forearm, then your fingers and wrist to hit the ball, do not swing your arm too hard.
Swimming, reducing overall mortality by 28%
Research shows that swimming can reduce the overall risk of death by 28% and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 41%. The benefits of swimming mainly include:
- Improving Cardiovascular Functioning
When swimming, breathing frequency should be coordinated with movements rhythmically, forcing each breath to be deeper, which enhances the elasticity of lung tissue and chest activity abilities, and is beneficial for strengthening cardiovascular function.
- Improving Vascular Endothelial Functioning
A new study published in the American Heart Association journal by Sheffield Hallam University in the UK also pointed out that participants in the water sports group had better small vein and large artery endothelial function, which is more conducive to blood pressure control.
- Protecting Joints
The water load on joints is small when swimming, which can reduce joint friction and increase joint flexibility. Even people with arthritis can choose swimming for fitness.
- People with heart disease, severe hypertension, infectious diseases, and ear diseases are not suitable for swimming.
- Elderly people should swim according to their abilities, preferably choosing swimming postures with less physical exertion such as breaststroke and backstroke, and should be accompanied by someone when swimming.
- Before and after swimming, you should take a shower and thoroughly rinse off the residual disinfectant in your body from the pool.
- When swimming, the breathing frequency should be coordinated rhythmically with the movements. It is necessary to exhale completely in the water and inhale fully when coming out of the water.
Indoor aerobic exercise reduces overall mortality rate by 27%.
Research shows that indoor fitness activities such as aerobics, Zumba, yoga, etc. can reduce the comprehensive mortality risk by 27% and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 36%.
- Improve body flexibility and shape a graceful posture.
Yoga and many other movements focus on slow stretching to increase tendon flexibility, thus improving body flexibility and coordination. This can effectively prevent and reduce injuries to the body in case of accidents.
At the same time, it can correct spinal deformities caused by daily fatigue or poor sitting posture, improve some bad postures, and enhance self-confidence~
- Increase Happiness
A study has shown that participating in team sports, especially those that require cooperation (such as partner dances, square dances, hip-hop dancing, etc.), can increase a person’s happiness.
When the body sways with the music, it also helps the brain relax, leading to the release of dopamine, which can alleviate anxiety, stress, and even regulate brain diseases.
Indoor aerobic exercise has lower intensity. To achieve the best results, you need to maintain a “moderate intensity” level, which means that your heartbeat and breathing are slightly faster during exercise, but you can still speak and communicate with some effort.
In addition to choosing the right type of exercise, paying attention to some small details can double the benefits of exercise~
Master the “Three Elements” of exercise and double the benefits
- Golden exercise time: 11am~5pm
Researchers divided participants into four groups: morning group (5:00~11:00); noon to afternoon group (11:00~17:00); mixed group; and night group (17:00~24:00).
Data shows that compared with the morning and night groups, exercising or mixed exercising between 11:00~17:00 reduces overall mortality rate by 11% and decreases cardiovascular disease mortality rate by up to 28%. This effect is particularly significant for the elderly, individuals with low physical activity (below the recommended amount by the WHO), and those with pre-existing cardiovascular diseases.
- Optimal exercise duration: 45-60 minutes
According to a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, more exercise is not always better.
The optimal exercise duration is 45-60 minutes. Less than 45 minutes will reduce the health benefits, and exceeding 60 minutes won’t bring additional benefits.
Regarding exercise frequency, 3-5 times a week with one session per day is ideal. If you choose walking as your exercise, you can increase the frequency to 6 times a week.
Tip: Drinking a cup of black coffee 40 minutes before exercising can help increase endurance and energy, and improve exercise efficiency.