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Live as Long as an Olympian

Olympic Athlete

Story at-a-glance -

  • Olympic medalists who engaged in extreme power sports such as weight lifting generally had shorter life expectancies than those engaging in endurance or mixed sports.
  • Olympic athletes engaging in more strenuous sports (rowers, runners) lived similar lifespans to those who competed in less intense sports (golf, cricket), but those who engaged in the most extreme contact sports, such as rugby had shorter lifespans than other athletes.
  • Extreme endurance cardio, such as marathon running, actually damages your heart, and can negate the health benefits you’d otherwise reap from a regular fitness program.
  • Exercise can be viewed as a drug that needs to be taken in the ideal dosage to impart the optimal benefit. Too little, and you won't get any benefit. Too much, and you could do harm.
  • Science now suggests that the best fitness regimen is actually one that mimics the movements of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, which included short bursts of high-intensity activities, but not long-distance running such as is required to complete a marathon.

By Dr. Mercola

On average, Olympic medalists live longer than the rest of the population, although generally only by about three years. This was true irrespective of country, medal or sport, which makes sense since exercise is well known to extend longevity.


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