Olympians Live Longer, But So Could We If We Met Guidelines For Physical

Two studies discuss the survival advantage of Olympians and how easy it could be for the rest of up to enjoy this survival advantage.

The first study examined if Olympic medalists lived longer than the general population. Researchers analyzed data from 15,174 medalists from nine countries who took part in Olympic games between 1896 and 2010. On average, Olympic medalists lived 2.8-years longer than the general population. Winners of the gold, silver, or bronze medals had similar survival advantage, but medalists in endurance and mixed sports had a larger survival advantage than medalists in power sports.

The second study found that higher intensity training was not linked to a lower risk of mortality among Olympic athletes than low intensity training–athletes who trained intensively (such as cyclists) had a similar all-cause mortality rate as those with low intensity training (such as golf). However athletes who played sports with a high risk of physical contact (such as rugby) had an 11% risk of death than athletes who played other sports.

You don’t have to win an Olympic medal to enjoy a survival advantage similar to that among elite athletes, according to the Editorial. People who get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity have a survival advantage over inactive people that ranges from just under a year to several years, say the authors.