Which athletes live the longest?

Each sport has its own rules and its own influence on your health. See more sports pictures.
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You hear it in the gym -- a burly weightlifter mutters that he could bench press three of the guys on the treadmills. A guy on a treadmill snickers that the weightlifter could never catch him. A soccer player says that thinking on your feet and anticipating where the ball will go takes much more skill than just doing the same thing over and over, and that she's the most agile person in the room.

Athletics demands self-discipline, and each sport develops different skills and strengths in the people who play them. In addition, we all hear the public service announcements telling us that exercise is important for our health. But are all sports created equal when it comes to health benefits? And what about the biggest health benefit of all -- staying alive?

The ancient Greeks thought regular vigorous exercise was actually bad for your health and would shorten your life [source: Ruiz]. Scientists have long since reversed that opinion. Now physiologists, biologists and physicians are comparing different types of exercises and sports to see whether one is better than another when it comes to living longer. After all, what good are bragging rights in the gym if you're cheating yourself out of extra years?

Which athletes live the longest: power athletes, endurance athletes or team sport athletes? Read on to learn about sports and longevity.