The Best Sports to Play if You Don't Want to Die

There's no magic secret to living a long life. Except maybe whiskey, which is something we can all get behind. But living healthfully into your 80s or 90s mostly requires a deliberate approach to incorporating common-sense, yet annoying habits like eating your vegetables, not drinking too much, and working out regularly.

In general, some physical activity is better than nothing; it's so good for your overall health, besides just looking good in a bathing suit and living longer. But it turns out, there are some exercises that are better than others for longevity, according to a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. As fun as your trendy new hip-hop striptease yoga class is, it may not help you live well into old age.

Some of the classics, on the other hand, could: racquet sports (tennis, racquet ball), swimming, and aerobic exercise. Basically, stuff old people already love doing at country clubs. 

The study was based on data collected on 80,000 people surveyed in England and Scotland between 1994 and 2008. Those who engaged in the aforementioned activities had the least chance of dying during the 14-year survey period, compared to people who didn't exercise at all. Surprisingly cycling, which is such a popular form of exercise it's garnered a cult following, didn't fare as well. The study's author theorized that people who claimed to cycle regularly for exercise might actually just be biking around for fun and not really working up a sweat. What, people exaggerating their fitness habits? Say it ain't so. 

While getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week is recommended for overall health, it might be worth jumping in the pool or joining an aerobics class; something you can keep doing well into your senior-citizen years, especially if your nursing home doesn't offer hip-hop striptease yoga.

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Christina Stiehl is a former health and fitness staff writer for Thrillist. She's pretty terrible at racquet sports (or anything that requires hand-eye coordination, really). Follow her on Twitter @ChristinaStiehl.