What is the Healthiest Sport in the World?

Tuesday, 14. May 2019

What is the Healthiest Sport in the World?

No matter what type of sport you do, experts recommend sports that encourage cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, muscle endurance and hand-eye coordination. Wouldn't it be nice to just do one sport that covers all of these things?

Here's a look at the results of a study and survey about this topic.

Forbes Magazine

The Forbes magazine asked personal trainers, coaches and sports scientists to describe which sports are the healthiest, based on many criteria. Here are some of the criteria they looked for:

  • cardiovascular endurance
  • muscle strength
  • muscle endurance
  • flexibility
  • calories burned in 30 minutes
  • the risk of injury

According to Forbes Magazine, the healthiest sport in the world is Squash, an unexpected winner! Squash improves aerobic fitness (which increases cardiovascular endurance and muscle endurance), builds strength in the arms and legs, burns many calories, trains flexibility through many stretching movements and has a reasonably low risk of injury. The sport also improves hand-eye coordination and concentration.

Here are the ten healthiest sports in the world according to Forbes in descending order:

  1. Squash
  2. Rowing
  3. Rock climbing
  4. Swimming
  5. Cross-country skiing
  6. Basketball
  7. Cycling
  8. Running
  9. Modern pentathlons
  10. Boxing (training)

From the British Journal of Sports Medicine

The British Journal of Sports Medicine also published a study in which several universities explored the relationship between certain sports and general mortality.

In the UK, 80,306 people were interviewed about their sports habits, and their deaths were recorded over the next few years. Then, connections were made between how long a person lived and whether they were regularly exercising. The sports investigated were:

  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Aerobic exercises (gymnastics, dancing ...)
  • Running
  • Football (football and rugby)
  • Racket sports (badminton, tennis, squash)

After analyzing the figures and taking account of important factors for health (age, alcohol consumption, tobacco consumption, etc.), the following results were obtained. The likelihood of death decreased as follows:

  • Cycling: 15%
  • Aerobic Exercises: 27%
  • Swimming: 28%
  • Racket Sports: 47%

There was no statistically significant reduction in the probability of death during the study for people who played soccer or regularly went running. This may also be because the number of people who died who reported doing these sports (eg 68 of 4,012 runners) was too small for representative statistics.


It is interesting to compare the results of this study with the Forbes survey. Racquet sports, swimming, cycling and running made both lists. Ultimately, doing any sport is better than doing no sport at all. Any kind of physical activity reduces the risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases and the like. Most importantly, find a sport you enjoy, and keep on doing it!