Does sports participation give you a longer life?
That's what this article asks. The result?
The data here seems to suggest that participation in aerobic activity has a positive impact on overall life expectancy. Further, participation in these activities may delay the development of heart disease. While this is encouraging, more research should be done on the subject to detail if this increase in life expectancy and disease resistance is due to the activity in question or some other factor like genetics or other lifestyles.
The study participants were former elite athletes so the carryover may not be quite there to average athletes. Or maybe it is. More study would be needed.
That said, there is an interesting chart showing former endurance athletes have a median life expectancy roughly 6 years longer than that of the controls.
I think this confirms what most of us would tend to believe. Our extensive aerobic activity provides health benefits that extend our lives. That said, as the quote above mentions, it would be nice to see further study done to determine what factors actually extend our lives and maybe even quantify them.