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These Sneaky Leisure Activities Can Extend Your Life, Study Says

Prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, and more by participating in these leisure activities.

A recent study from the NIH/National Cancer Institute has found that older adults who have fun taking part in leisurely activities on a weekly basis can lower their risk of dying from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and more. So grab your tennis or pickleball racket, because life just got longer! Keep reading to learn more about how certain leisure activities can help extend your life.

If you want to extend your life, a new study says leisure activities like swimming, cycling, running, and golfing may be key.

mature woman swimming laps

The results of this research published recently in JAMA Network Open are pretty astounding. Basically, if you want to lower your risk of dying, it's important to have fun while you get active! Leisure activities such as cycling, walking briskly, and swimming are so beneficial to your well-being.

Researchers reviewed information from 272,550 adults ranging in age from 59 to 82 years old. The participants answered questions regarding the activities they do during their downtime, in conjunction with the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. The review included whether or not taking part in equal amounts of seven various fitness and leisure activities like swimming, cycling, running, golf, walking, aerobic exercise, and racquet sports was linked with a lower chance of mortality.

Related: The Top 5 Walking Habits That Slow Aging, Fitness Expert Reveals

Racquet activities present a 16% lowered risk of mortality, while running is linked to a 15% reduced chance.

mature woman getting ready to play tennis, one of the leisure activities that extend your life

The study points out that the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (second edition), recommends adults participate in 2.5 to 5 hours of moderately intense aerobic activity or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous aerobic exercise on a weekly basis. The research reveals that performing the recommended amount of fitness each week by combining any of the activities named correlates to a 13% decreased risk of mortality from any contributing factor, compared to individuals who do not participate in any of these pastimes.

As far as the breakout is concerned, there was a 16% lowered risk when it came to racquet activities and a 15% lowered risk with running. Nonetheless, each of the activities researched was affiliated with a decreased risk of mortality.

Related: Follow These Healthy Habits To Live to 100 and Beyond, Science Says

Participants who were the most active revealed an even higher reduced risk of mortality.

mature couple running outdoors at sunset, one of the leisure activities that extend your life

The participants who were the most active in the study revealed an even higher reduced risk of mortality. In addition, individuals who performed some leisure activity—even if it was lower than the recommended weekly total—decreased their risk of mortality by 5% when compared to those individuals who didn't take part in any leisure activities.

These leisure activities were linked to a reduced chance of mortality from cancer and cardiovascular disease.

mature man biking sprinting along the coast, exercise habits that slow aging

Additionally, these fitness and leisure activities mentioned were linked to a reduced risk of mortality resulting from cancer and cardiovascular disease. The highest reduction was related to playing racquet sports, lowering the risk of cardiovascular deaths by 27%, and running was linked to the highest risk reduction of passing away from cancer by 19%.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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