SILVER SPRING, MD – June 9, 2014 – Your chances of being physically active and healthier later in life are stronger if you play high school or club sports as a teenager. The results of a study publicized, FIT in 50 YEARS, in BMC Public Health indicate that “encouraging systematic or frequent physical activity at a young age - whether through school sports or club opportunities - might be the best investment in long-term activeness.”
The study was done by researchers from Cornell University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, based in Zurich, Switzerland. The study focused on more than 700 World War II veterans, who passed a stringent military physical exam in the 1940s. The researchers then followed up with these same men 50 years later, when most of them were in their late 70s.
The findings of the study were eye-opening as they “revealed one critical youthful predictor of whether a man would be physically active after the age of 70: It was whether he participated in high school varsity sports.”
The study also suggested that “school-based organized sports should be preserved because they contribute to later physical activity levels and decrease the risk factors for early morbidity.”
“When you look at the study and its conclusions, it appears clear that playing high school sports is a big influence on your health, in a positive way, over your lifetime,” says Jim Baugh, founder of PHIT America. “The study also indicates that daily physical education classes for students is an important part of this fitness-for-life equation.”
"Playing high school sports provides benefits that can last a lifetime," says Wayne Ryan, athletic director and girls varsity basketball coach at Summers County High School (Hinton, West Virginia). "When you play team sports, the successful teams understand the importance of physical fitness, the value of teamwork, and how to overcome adversity during the season. Successful teams are comprised of disciplined individuals who understand the value of making sacrifices to help the team succeed. Those lessons learned as teenagers remain with us for a lifetime.”