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Dublin: -3°C Tuesday 18 January 2022

Olympians live longer than the rest of us

On average Olympic athletes live 2.8 years longer than non-Olympians.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

RIGOROUS TRAINING REGIMES pay off for Olympic athletes by giving them 2.8 years more on the earth than other mere mortals.

The two studies published by the British Medical Journal found that the world’s best athletes are also the healthiest.

The first study looked at 15,174 Olympic athletes, from nine country, including the United States, Germany, Nordic countries, Russia, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who won medals in the Olympic Games held in 1896-2010.

The second study looked at 9,889 deceased sporting heroes who had participated in at least one Olympic Games between 1896 and 1936.

Survival advantage

The papers found that athletes who played high or moderate intensity sports have no survival advantage over those who played low intensity activities. So, those who play golf can enjoy a longer lifespan along with those who run or play soccer.

It also showed the colour of the medals won do not matter with Olympians enjoying the same survival advantage over non-Olympians.

The studies were not carried out to find out why athletes lived longer, but researchers put it down to genetic and lifestyle factors and the wealth and status that comes with sporting success.

A longer life could be in everyone’s grasp, as the paper pointed out the “overall health advantage to being fit.”

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