Thursday, August 27, 2015

High school athletics predict health later in life

Men who participated in high school sports were more likely to be active in their twilight years

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Activity in your teenage years may indicate how healthy you are later in life.
Activity in your teenage years may indicate how healthy you are later in life. iStock

(Inside Science TV) – Even long after retirement age, retiree Gene German, can still play tennis like someone half of his age.

“I still participate in several sports," said German.

What's Gene's secret to staying fit and healthy? A new study from researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, say that men who played high school sports are more likely to be in shape after age 70.

The study included 712 World War II veterans who passed military physical exams as young men. Women were not involved in the study because the military did not admit women at the time.

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  • “In high school, I played football and basketball and tennis,” said German.

    German's adolescent and present athleticism are closely linked.

    “Simply playing any high school sport ended up being related to you being more physically active when you’re older, about 70 percent more physically active," said Brian Wansink, a behavioral scientist at Cornell.

    Active, elderly men who played high school sports also made fewer visits to the doctor each year.

    “Simply playing any high school sport ended up being related to you being more physically active when you’re older, about 70 percent more physically active,” explained Wansink.

    The results add to the importance of encouraging today's kids to be physically active.

    “Simply being involved in any sport, even if you weren’t good at it, had this lifetime of benefits," said Wansink.


    Reprinted with permission from Inside Science, an editorially independent news product of the American Institute of Physics, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing, promoting and serving the physical sciences.

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