Research being presented this weekend at a cardiology meeting in Dublin gives new meaning to the phrase “run for your life.” In a large, long-term Danish study that investigators will discuss on Saturday, adults who jogged regularly lived longer than those who didn’t jog.
“We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity,” said lead investigator, Peter Schnohr, MD, in a statement released today during the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation’s annual meeting. “The good news is that you don’t actually need to do that much to reap the benefits.”
Schnohr is chief cardiologist of the Copenhagen City Heart Study, a prospective cardiovascular population study of about 20 000 men and women aged 20 to 93 years that’s been ongoing since 1976. As a substudy, Schnohr and his colleagues examined whether different forms of exercise could affect longevity.
Their analysis compared mortality data from 1116 male joggers and 762 female joggers with death rates of nonjoggers in the main study population. The investigators examined data collected from 1976 through 2003.
The results showed that men and women who jogged had a 44% reduced mortality risk compared with study participants who didn’t jog. What’s more, jogging was linked with a 6.2-year longer life span for men and 5.6 years for women.
Schnohr and his colleagues also found that it didn’t take exhaustive jogging regimens to reap the benefits. Between 1 and 2.5 hours a week, split into 2 or 3 sessions, delivered optimum benefits—especially at a slow or average pace. “You should aim to feel a little breathless, but not very breathless,” Schnohr said.
“The relationship appears much like alcohol intakes,” he said. “Mortality is lower in people reporting moderate jogging than in nonjoggers or those undertaking extreme levels of exercise.”