Good news for joggers and something to think about for those who don’t run: Regular jogging at a “slow or average” pace can extend your life, a Danish study found.
Between one and two-and-a-half hours of jogging a week can add 6.2 years of life expectancy for men and 5.6 years for women, according to the latest data from the Copenhagen City Heart Study presented at the Euro PRevent2012 meeting in Ireland.
“The results of our research allows us to definitely answer the question of whether jogging is good for your health,” Peter Schnohr, chief cardiologist of the Copenhagen City Heart Study, said in a European Society of Cardiology news release. “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.”
To get the optimal benefit out of jogging, researchers found that doing the one hour to two-and-a-half hours per week in two-to-three jogging sessions was best. And the ideal running pace was achieved by feeling just a bit (but not very) breathless.
The Copenhagen City Heart Study dates back to 1976 and includes 20,000 people. The jogging part of the study included 1,116 male joggers and 762 female joggers who were compared to those who didn’t run in the main study population and asked to answer questions about how much time they spent jogging each week and to rate their pace.
Researchers found in the follow-up period of a maximum 35 years that there were 10,158 deaths among non-joggers and 122 deaths among joggers, with the risk of death reduced 44 percent for both male and female joggers, according to the news release.
Schnohr listed multiple health benefits of jogging, among them: improved oxygen untake, increased insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, improved cardiac function, bone density, immune function and psychological function, obesity prevention, reduced inflammation markers and an improved lipid profile, which means a raised HDL (good) cholesterol level and lower triglycerides.