Sunday, July 16, 2017
Running as a Key Lifestyle Medicine for Longevity
Researchers found that, compared to nonrunners, runners tended to live about three additional years, even if they run slowly or sporadically and smoke, drink or are overweight.
No other form of exercise that researchers looked at showed comparable impacts on lifespan.
The findings come as a follow-up to a study done three years ago, in which a group of distinguished exercise scientists scrutinised data from a large trove of medical and fitness tests. That analysis found that as little as five minutes of daily running was associated with prolonged life spans.
Overall, this new review reinforced the findings of the earlier research, the scientists determined. Cumulatively, the data indicated that running, whatever someone's pace or mileage, dropped a person's risk of premature death by almost 40 percent, a benefit that held true even when the researchers controlled for smoking, drinking and a history of health problems such as hypertension or obesity.
Perhaps most interesting, the researchers calculated that hour for hour, running statistically returns more time to people's lives than it consumes.
Figuring two hours per week of training, since that was the average reported by runners in the earlier study, the researchers estimated that a typical runner would spend less than six months actually running over the course of almost 40 years, but could expect an increase in life expectancy of 3.2 years, for a net gain of about 2.8 years.
In concrete terms, an hour of running statistically lengthens life expectancy by seven hours, the researchers report.
The gains in life expectancy are capped at around three extra years, no matter how much longer you run. The good news is that prolonged running does not seem to become counterproductive for longevity, according to the data.
Improvements in life expectancy generally plateaued at about four hours of running per week, but they did not decline. Meanwhile, other kinds of exercise also reliably benefited life expectancy, the researchers found, but not to the same degree as running.
Walking, cycling and other activities, even if they required the same exertion as running, typically dropped the risk of premature death by about 12 percent.
Why running should be so uniquely potent against early mortality remains uncertain, but it raises aerobic fitness, and high aerobic fitness is one of the best-known indicators of an individual's long-term health.
Another study shows running is a popular and convenient leisure-time physical activity (PA) with a significant impact on longevity.
In general, runners have a 25-40% reduced risk of premature mortality and live approximately 3 years longer than non-runners.
So running and jogging are good for us, but before you start this type of exercise, see and talk to your Doctor about whether this is good for you.