The Best and Worst Sports For Life Expectancy‏

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When you apply for life insurance, your life expectancy is the biggest factor that determines the cost of the premiums you pay. Insurance carriers prefer to deal with clients that are more likely to live longer and pay as much into their policies as possible. The longer your life expectancy, the lower your premium rates.

On the flip side, a shorter life expectancy means that you’ll be hit with bigger premiums. While age is obviously the biggest factor when it comes to determining life expectancy, there are several other things that can increase or reduce a person’s expected life span.

One of the activities that can have an impact on your life expectancy is playing sports. The physical activities you perform while playing certain sports can often provide your body with exercise required to stay healthy and live longer. 

At the same time, not all sports increase your life expectancy or keep your body healthy. In fact, there are several sports out there that require you to perform extreme physical activities that could have a detrimental effect on your body.

Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst sports for life expectancy.


Tennis is a racquet sport that can either be played individually or against a single opponent or between teams of two players each. Playing tennis can provide great exercise to both the upper and lower parts of the body. It also helps build endurance and muscle strength. With a lack of any physical contact with the opponent, tennis is also one of the safest mainstream sports that you can play.

A study of more than 10,000 men who played tennis more than three times a week found that these men had a 51% lower risk of death from any cause compared to a non-tennis player. 41% of the men were found to have a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease.

Competitive Swimming

Competitive swimming (swimming as part of a sport) has become quite popular over the years. The Summer Olympics now have multiple competitive swimming events unlike in the past. Swimming provides several health benefits that can boost an individual’s life expectancy. Some of these benefits include increased endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.

Swimming is also beneficial from a mental standpoint, as it alleviates tension and provides stress relief. According to this study, swimmers were found to have longer life spans when compared to joggers.


Football is a team ball sport played among two teams. The objective of the game is to outscore the other team. Football can be a very physical sport, as tackling is legal and high speed collisions are common. According to a report, football players who are regularly involved in collisions are at risk of getting brain damage, concussions and other cognitive diseases such as dementia.

The most alarming statistic in this study regarding football is that National Football League (NFL) players have a life expectancy of just 55 years. Considering that the average life expectancy age in Canada is 81 years, this is a huge drop.


Boxing is a combat sport in which two people throw punches at each other in an attempt to weaken and knock down their opponent. The frequent physical contact between opponents makes the sport one of the most dangerous in the world.

Research by the British Medical Journal found that a boxer’s mortality rate is 11% higher than athletes who participate in low contact sports such as golf or cricket. Constantly taking punches to the head also leaves boxers at risk to concussions and brain damage.

Ice Hockey

Ice hockey is a team sport played on ice where two teams try to outscore each other by using sticks to shoot a rubber puck into a net. Ice hockey is a high contact sport. Hits and knocking over opponents on the ice are legal. Some leagues even allow bare-knuckle fighting between players.

While playing ice hockey can provide some great exercise (especially to the lower body), it’s still considered to be a fairly dangerous sport where the risk of injuries are serious. The majority of injuries in ice hockey occur because of hits to the head or fights where punches to the head are thrown. This can lead to concussions and other head-related injuries which can decrease your life span.

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