Old people sports make old people

I’ll be damned… old people sports produce create old people.

According to a study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, certain sports, ones that I would refer to as sports for old people, have been linked with longer life-spans.

The Study (according to the journal):

The questions pertained to their exercise habits, frequency, and sport selection. The researchers questioned over 80,000 random people in Europe and collected data to form a conclusion.

The findings:

44% of the subjects met the standard recommended amount of exercise. Of those 44%, the type of sport they did to exercise produced varied evidence of longevity in the nine-year study span. Subjects who choose racquet sports as their primary way of exercise have a 47% lower chance of dying during the nine-year period than those who didn’t exercise. Subjects who swim have a 28% lower chance of dying. Subjects who do aerobics have a 27% chance of dying. olzzzzzddddFootball and running did not produce any significant data of a lowering in chance of dying in the nine-year period.

But before you rush to the closest sporting goods shop and invest in some sweet sweatbands and a dope racquet, consider the possible shortcomings of this study.

The issues:

  • As is inherent in a study that uses data based on randomly dispersed questionnaires, some of the data may be inaccurate. However, the sample size may override that issue.
  • Correlation does not equal causation, therefore this apparent link must have influencing factors that are separate from the advertised conclusion.
  • It would be ridiculous to think that if you start playing racquetball or swimming instead of another equally cardio intensive exercise. People who play racquetball or have access to a pool year-round are typically middle class or higher. This socioeconomic status is linked with higher longevity rates anyways. This brings up the point that the possibility of reverse causation. The subjects (based on their probable status and variables that influence the study results) cause these sports to have higher rates.
  • Finally, the study was performed by British, Australian, and probably New Zealand researchers. Don’t let the accents fool you. They are not the most trustworthy people.

The overall takeaway is that although these results support the notion that exercise, in general, can influence longevity, third confounding variables, such as socioeconomic status, nullify the data that indicates that the choice of exercise influences longevity.

1 thought on “Old people sports make old people

  1. Justin Passaro

    Francis, I get what the message that you are trying to convey, but what qualifies as “old people sport”? Sure golf and tennis are common sports for the elderly to participate in but is gold making Rory Mcilory an old person? Does tennis make Nadal an old person? I don’t think you should generalize these types of sports and just throw the old people label on them. I found an article that list benefits that the game of golf, an “old people’s sport” can provide. Maybe these activities are helping them instead of making them old.


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