Play More Tennis and Live Longer!

That’s right.  Yet another new study has come out showing the health benefits of being active, this time as it relates to longevity.  The December 2018 issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings has a research study titled: Various Leisure-Time Physical Activities Associated with Widely Divergent Life Expectancies: The Copenhagen City Heart Study.  This study following 8577 participants for up to 25 years looking at various forms of physical activities to see which gave the most benefit in adding years to life. 

Playing tennis was the most beneficial extending life expectancy by 9.7 years relative to the sedentary control group.  Seven other leisure activities also increased life expectancy, but not as much! 

Here is the list:

Tennis-        9.7 years

Badminton- 6.2 years

Soccer-         4.7 years

Cycling-       3.7 years

Swimming-  3.4 years

Jogging-       3.2 years

Calisthenics-3.1 years

Health Club Activities- 1.5 years

The study tried to analyze what makes tennis and the other top life extending activities more beneficial than the later activities on the list.   One big difference is that tennis, badminton and soccer tend to be social sports that depend on interactions with others. According to the authors, “Belonging to a group that meets regularly promotes a sense of support, trust, and commonality, which has been shown to contribute to a sense of well-being and improved long term health”.   They also state, “A scientifically rigorous and widely cited meta-analysis on the topic found that social support had a stronger effect on long-term survival than any other factor, including being a nonsmoker, staying lean, or having normal blood pressure”

Another possible reason that tennis, badminton and soccer participants have increase longevity is that these sports require quick interval bursts of full body motions compared to the other sports studied which have more continuous repetitive body motions.  The jury is not out, but according to the study, “a growing body of evidence indicates that short repeated intervals of high intensity exercise appear to be superior to continuous moderate intensity PA (physical activity) for improving health outcomes”. 

It’s a New Year and no better time to make a commitment to being active.  Exercising in a health club may not increase longevity as much as playing tennis or even cycling, but it does have significant benefits which include reducing the risk of many types of cancer, developing Type 2 Diabetes, decreases cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of heart disease and increased the natural protection of cold and flu viruses to name a few.

I’m an avid tennis player so was very happy to see these benefits in longevity.  The moral of this study is that you need to be active to live longer. Of the 8577 participants in this study, 12% reported being sedentary and 66% engaged in at least 1 activity.  The weekly average was almost 7 hours of activity a week.  That’s about 1 hour a day which is the minimum recommended by many different studies.

A study in Lancet in 2016, concludes that it takes 1 hour of exercise a day to reverse the negative mortality effects of sitting 8 hours on the job.  Less than 25% of us meet this minimum requirement. More and more studies are demonstrating the importance of motion.  My favorite mantra to my patients is, “life is motion”.  The Mayo Clinic study is just the latest.  It also give hints on which activities you might want to focus on if you want to live longer. It really doesn’t matter what you do, just do something for at least one hour a day.  It doesn’t have to be continuous.  In fact, the Lancet article suggests you move at least 5 minutes every hour, making the 1 hour of exercise cumulative rather can consecutive!  Just walking is an excellent exercise. The social interaction of walking with a friend probably increases the benefit exponentially!

Before you start any new activity you should have a functional musculoskeletal examination to determine if you are capable.  At Performance Health Center we specialize in getting our patients out of pain and in optimum functional health so they can enjoy pain-free active living!  Wishing all our friends and patients a Healthy, Active and Happy New Year!  For more info email me at:

The Glue that Keeps Our International Tennis Athletics Competing

Loving the game of Tennis and understanding the sport as a competitor is a perfect professional fit. I was invited as a Board Certified Massage Therapist to travel to Umag Croatia to work with our Senior USA tennis teams in September.

The venue was named the International Tennis Federation World Super -Senior Team Championships.

The championships is the largest and most important competition of tennis seniors over 65 to 80 plus years in the world. There were 107 teams representing 26 different countries.

I was introduced to both men and women players from our USA Teams, letting them know I was available pre and post event for Kenesio taping, active isolated stretching, spot massage treatment and full body treatment.

As veteran senior athletics they knew the value of massage for maintaining-their competitive edge.

I’m always amazed at untypical 80’s women and they continue to give me inspiration. One of the team of four has been doing yoga for thirty years and loves to show off her stretching routine doing the splits. Another puts her kinesiology tape on her knees and runs for shots with little effort.

Every day at four I had an appointment with Dave, a 65 USA team player from Dallas He was playing  number 1 singles . The surface was red clay which is easier on the body but a slower surface to play on. As a result his legs were fatigued, hamstrings tight and his low back was talking to him The massage focus was bring about an awareness and facilitate more  blood-flow while decreasing tension in those tight muscles  .After a 1 1/2 hour treatment my goals were achieved and he was ready to go back on the courts the next day.

Our USA teams did well.  The US 80’s Men and Woman and  75 men and woman came in first place, Our 65 men and woman came in 3rd place My experience was professionally rich.

Never stop moving! Life is Motion!  I’m always proud to represent our country.

To schedule your next massage, call the office at 508-655-9008


Seeing how I took last month to write about a man, Rich Busa, that I hold very dear to my heart, I am on a roll and want to take the time this month to talk about a family that I hold very dear to my heart.  For the sake of HIPAA, I will just use their first names during this article (Rich gave us permission years ago to use his full name in regards to helping our practice build its brand).

Just recently, two of my patients, Karen and Marco (and their husband/dad respectively), picked up and moved to Georgia.  I was so sad to hear the news when Karen gave me the heads up months prior, but none the less, the time crept up so quickly.

Karen first started coming to see me years back, not sure of the exact date, but we seemed to hit it off.  We both have similar views on lot of things as we came to know each other over the years, and it was only a matter of time before she started bringing her son, Marco, in for chiropractic care and Active Release Techniques (ART) as well.

When Karen was in one visit, prior to Marco being a patient at my office, we started talking about him and how active he is.  Karen started telling me about Marco being a tennis player, and how competitive he was.  Little did I know back then that he wasn’t just a competitive tennis player, he really has the potential to go big and go far!

Marco was a little shy the first visit or two in my office, but after we got talking about sports, school, our competitive natures, and fun stuff too, he warmed right up.  I am sure when his Mom was bringing him to his first appointment to see me, he probably thought he was going to some stuffy doctor’s office, and being young boy, wouldn’t that be the last place you would want to go?

I must say, Marco was the “posture child” for chiropractic and ART, or at least in my office he was.  He made me look REALLY good.  I honestly don’t think or remember there being one issue of his that I couldn’t help treat or fix.  I am reading that last sentence I just wrote, and hoping it doesn’t sound too arrogant, but his mom and I would joke about how well he responded to my treatments.

I remember Karen saying awhile back, that if Marco had an issue with something, as long as it wasn’t blood or guts, she would check with me first before going to his PCP, an orthopedist or other medical professional.  I felt so flattered that she thought/thinks that highly of me, and trusted me with her son that much, her aliments too, and especially her being an impressive and knowledgeable medical professional herself.  We still half joke half seriously talk about when Marco goes pro and is making the big bucks, I will go on tour with him as his personal chiropractor and ART practitioner.  I am going to hold Marco to that, lol!

I also think it is great that Marco has parents that understand the importance of health and well being, and taking care of one’s body, especially after what Marco demands of his.  This will only help Marco as he continues to grow and increase the demands he asks of his body as and athlete, and his tennis career continues to blossom.  If he continues to take care of the little aches and pains as they arise, the chances of bigger or more serious injuries as he gets older will be much less likely to occur.  I always say, “Focus on what you can control,” and this is one sure thing Marco has control over, taking care of his body.

But, on a more personal note, I am so happy that I have had the opportunity to get to know their family.  My step-son and I were even lucky enough to attend one of his last matches here in Natick, MA, before they moved south.  Marco was having a little trouble settling into the match from what Karen was saying, but he was focused and stayed strong, and won!  Never mind the fact of winning that set/match we got to see, I was more impressed with how Marco kept his composure and his mental game.  I watched his opponent mentally deteriorate on the court in front of him, and Marco knew it.  From what I could tell, Marco’s opponent went in fairly confident that he could beat Marco at the end of the day, and that wasn’t the case at all!  It was amazing to see something like that occur on the court right in front of me, live!  I felt like a proud older sister.

I really feel that Marco has a special gift, whether it is to play very competitively at the college level and hopefully receive lot of grants and scholarships to pay for his education, or to go as far as being on a pro tour, who knows!  The world is his oyster, and I think that Marco has the mental focus and toughness, skill, determination, athleticism and intelligence to be what ever he wants to be and his heart desires.  I told him whatever he does, just make sure he loves it, and to have fun doing it!

Karen, Dad, and Marco… It was bittersweet to see you go.  Sad that I will not be seeing you as often (I promise to visit), but so excited to see where this next chapter in life will take you all.  Thinking of you all often and wishing you all the best!