When Barbara Karayi heads out on her bicycle, she knows she's getting more than just fresh air.
"Obviously, I know it's good for my heart. And I can feel after I'm done cycling my blood pressure goes right down," Karayi said.
New research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reveals cycling might pay off big in the long run. Researchers studied the exercise habits of more than 80,000 adults for over a decade. They found people who took part in certain sports didn't just lower their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, they lowered their chance of dying from any health problem. Those who cycled routinely cut their health risks by 15 percent.
"This is really the first time that scientists have been able to look at particular sports and clearly show that certain sports have a proven benefit," said Dr. Declan O'Regan, a cardiac radiologist.
When it came to cardiovascular disease, people who played racket sports cut their risk of death by more than half, swimming by 41 percent and aerobics by 36 percent.
While experts aren't ready to prescribe specific sports just yet, they say consistent exercise is key.
"It's really finding a sport that's good for you and one that you could do sustainably for a long period of time," O'Regan said.
For Karayi, that means sticking with her bike.
"If you see me cycling, I've always got a big grin on my face," she said.
PO Box 4508