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Is Sport the Key to Longevity?

Engaging in sports is not only a pursuit of personal bests and team victories but also a profound investment in one’s health and lifespan. The intersection of physical activity and longevity is supported by a growing body of scientific evidence, suggesting that those who integrate sport into their daily routine can reap benefits far beyond fitness. Sports inherently foster cardiovascular strength, flexibility, mental acuity, social connections, and a disciplined approach to wellness, all contributing to a greater life expectancy. Researchers took this one step further and asked if any sports were superior and found a winner.

A new study out of Denmark found that adults who played tennis or other racket and team sports lived longer than those who participated in other healthy, yet solitary activities such as running, swimming and cycling. While all sports added years to the study participants’ lives when compared to the sedentary group, those who played Tennis or Badminton added an average 9.7 and 6.2 years to their lives.

Study co-author, Dr. James O’Keefe, suspects that the primary reason for the increased lifespan is the social aspect of these sports.

76 and Thriving

This is great news for 76 year old John who developed a passion for racket sports in his 30s. John isn’t driven by a quest for fitness; it’s the game itself and the social aspect that come with it that fill him with energy. Even when an occasional injury rears its head, it’s just another chance for John to banter on the sidelines.

John had many successful years in tennis, attending tournaments, including several international destinations. In the 1990’s a car accident while riding his bike damaged his knee leading to surgery. Over time, the injury and recovery became more difficult to play through, so he diverted his skills to table tennis, where he’s continued to excel.

In both sport and his thriving career in real estate he found a perfect fit for his tenacity, trust in his instincts, and readiness to embrace opportunity. The stamina and resilience honed on the court ran parallel to the tenets of his business—bold decisions, calculated risks, and an unwavering autonomy.

A passion for both has kept him motivated to stay mentally and physically healthy.

Regular visits to the gym are penned into John’s weekly routine, not as a chore but as a means to stay nimble – qualities indispensable for a good table tennis match. Moreover, these sessions had the added benefit of keeping him in step with his wife, an avid walker whose brisk pace is enough to challenge anyone half her age.

The Formula for a Long Lifespan

What’s notable is how having a passion for sport can lengthen your lifespan, whether that was your aim or not.

“I’ve never given much thought to longevity, but I fully intend to be active for all of my life,” says John as he reflects on how he stays motivated to be active. “I’m also very competitive and outgoing, so the social component is a motivator for me to keep up with it.”

Sport isn’t the only key to John and his wife’s good health. In 2007 they placed their trust in Don Copeman’s vision for a collaborative and preventive care model. When the clinical team transitioned to Copeman’s new clinic, Harrison Healthcare in 2021, the couple were more than pleased to follow along and continue to lean on their deep well of knowledge, the convenience of on-time appointments and most importantly, the trust they instilled.

At the heart of his health journey is Dr. Beth Donaldson, his physician, whose approach to medicine wholly resonated with him. Harrison’s commitment to prevention and early detection is something he hadn’t found elsewhere. With longer appointments, regular assessments, and a team of experts to support her, Dr. Donaldson knows just how to navigate John’s self-proclaimed stubbornness, nudging him towards healthier habits. It was her guidance that led to a lifesaving early diagnosis, one that could have easily been missed.

“Dr. Donaldson has been instrumental in keeping my health on track,” says John.

You’re in the Driver’s Seat of your Life

Markedly self-motivated and someone who trusts his own compass above all others, John has long shown a penchant for diligent research. It’s telling then, that John chose Harrison Healthcare to help support his and his family’s health.

Despite currently facing upcoming knee replacement surgery, John refuses to let it slow him down for long. He’s done extensive research to find out exactly what could support his care plan and make choices that suit his needs. His efforts have been well supported by his Care Coordinator and the administrative team at Harrison who helped coordinate an MRI and specialist referrals while Harrison continues to monitor and advise based on the results. He knows he can lean on his team throughout the whole process.

“I’m actually looking forward to it now. Being able to walk comfortably, travel, and perhaps even get back on the tennis court are huge motivators for me,” says John with enthusiasm. “I want the chance to compete in both sports going forward, and I’m optimistic that a successful knee replacement will give me that opportunity.”

John has many healthy, active years ahead of him thanks to the undeniable combination of invigorating sports, a passion for life, a comprehensive healthcare team, and his own commitment to his personal health.

Find your Health Ally

Empower yourself to achieve better health outcomes and sustained happiness by partnering with Harrison Healthcare. We’re more than just a healthcare provider – we’re an ally on a path to longevity and vitality.


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