Live shortening effects of sport

Kevin Goldstein keving at
Fri Feb 9 04:45:01 EST 1996

LOU PAGNUCCO <lpagnucco at> wrote:

>H.O.van.den.Berg at wrote:
>>Hi all,
>> '''
>>Racing horces life years shorter than recreation horses.
>>In an experiment where flies were not allowed to fly theze non-fliers
>>lived up to 200 % longer than the flies that could fly freely.
>> ...
>>Is sport like sun beathing ?; (you look great shortly after
>>but worse years after...)
>>Is muscle tissue and sports activity the reason for the fact
>>that women live longer ?
>> ...
>>And if we pay this price for sports, what sport would give 
>>the best physical results for the lowes oxygen price ?
>I have also read a study on the longevity of olympic marathoners.
>They seemed to have a lower mortality up to the ages of 55-60.
>After that, they died off at a significantly higher rate than 
>sedentary counterparts.

>A study has also been done on the life expectancy of U.S. professional
>football players.  They have amazingly short life spans.  On average,
>they only live to their mid-50's.

>Still, I want to believe moderate exercise is beneficial.

>Lou Pagnucco

These kind of statistics really mean nothing, because they don't
factor out common life-style characteristics of particular groups. For
examaple (and without meaning to trash national icons), I have heard
that steroid use in the off-season is spreading among football
players. How does that effect life-span? Likewise, do football players
party hardy, more often, later into life, than mere mortals? Finally,
football in particular is a fairly "brutal" sport. Would you be
surprised to find that champion prizefighters have an average lifespan
of only mid-forties? No? Then you shouldn't be surprised that football
players have shorter life-spans than average.  (BTW, the "mid-forties"
lifespan for prizefighters is hypothetical, to get my point across; I
have no idea what the real number is.)

As for marathon runners: by any chance do they tend to stop running at
55-60? Just the first question that comes to mind, but I find you
really need to "study the study" to determine if the conclusions can
even begin to be considered valid.

-Kevin Goldstein
kevin at

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