New Study Shows Joggers Live Longer

By  //  May 8, 2012

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Healthy Living

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Peter Schnor, MD, Chief Cardiologist from the Copenhagen City Heart Study, and his colleagues have published over 750 research papers based on the Copenhagen City Heart Study, a prospective cardiovascular population study of around 20,000 men and women aged between 20 to 93 years and begun in 1976.

Dr. Peter Schnohr

The most recent was a study related to the effects of  jogging on life expectancy.  The study was published as an abstract and presented at EuroPRevent 2012 in Dublin, Ireland, a conference organized by the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, a registered branch of the European Society of Cardiology.

Jog and Live Longer

Reviewing and analyzing the evidence of whether jogging is healthy or hazardous, the Danish research team found that between one and two-and-a-half hours of jogging  per week at a “slow or average” pace delivers optimum benefits for longevity.

According to Dr. Schnohr, the results showed that jogging was associated with a 44% reduction in the relative risk of death over 35 years compared with deaths among non-joggers, and that the benefit was observed for both men and women. That reduction translated into an age-adjusted survival benefit of 6.2 years in men and 5.6 years in women.

“The results of our research allow us to definitively answer the question of whether jogging is good for your health,” said Schnohr.  “We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity. The good news is that you don’t actually need to do that much to reap the benefits.”

Results of Long Term Research Show Dramatic Benefits of Jogging

The benefits and risks of jogging first came into question in the 1970s when middle aged men took an interest in the past-time. “After a few men died while out on a run, various newspapers suggested that jogging might be too strenuous for ordinary middle aged people,” recalled Schnohr.

Joggers in the study not only lived longer, but also reported an overall sense of well-being.

The study participant cohort was made up of 1,116 male joggers and 762 female joggers who were compared to the non joggers in the main study population.  When the study began, participants ranged in age from 20 to 79.

All participants were asked about jogging frequency and pace, and underwent examinations over 2-year time frames beginning in 1976, 1981, 1991, and finally in 2001. In addition to assessments of cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose, and BMI, patients were also asked about alcohol consumption, smoking, income and education.

Dr. Schnohr notes that even the elderly can add years to life by jogging.

The study clearly shows that you don’t have to be a marathoner or competitive runner to reap the benefits of jogging.  In fact, moderation appeared to play an important role, with the optimum benefit realized for those who jogged at a slow-to-average pace between an hour and two and half hours done in two to three sessions over the course of a week. Joggers also overwhelmingly reported an overall sense of well-being.

Schnohr noted that even elderly people can add years to life by jogging, and said, “A 70-year-old will benefit and I think the benefit may be even greater for older people.”

So, whether you’re 20 or 80, think about strapping on those running shoes and jogging for life and longevity.

CLICK HERE to listen to an interview with Dr. Schnohr from EuroPRevent 2012 on escardio.org.

 


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