• By Ian Roth

Mayo Clinic Minute: Why a racquet and some friends may be the key to a longer life

October 2, 2018

Exercise is the best medicine and the closest thing there is to a fountain of youth. Any exercise can help you live longer, but new research shows some exercises can help you live longer than others.

"And the study actually found that the team sports, the sports where you had some social connectivity, actually produced a greater longevity than those individual sports," says Dr. Ed Laskowski, co-director of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine.

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Dr. Laskowski says a recent study shows people who play social sports like tennis or soccer tend to live longer than those who participate in individual sports like swimming or running.

But even among social sports, racquet sports like tennis appear to extend life the most.

He thinks one possible reason is that racquet sports are great for what's known as interval training.

"If you're playing a point, you may have 30 seconds of very intense activity followed by a recovery period," Dr. Laskowski says. "So we're finding that that type of activity is very efficient at training the body, and a lot of times those ... short bouts of more intense activity produce greater efficiency and actually a greater training effect."

But Dr. Laskowski says if running or swimming alone is your thing, stick to it. You'll still live longer than without exercise.

But if you take up a racquet sport like tennis, one study says you may live even longer.

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