Get Moving! Jogging Can Add Years to Your Life

By Dana Shultz for

Men and women can add years to their lives by jogging.Strap on your tennis shoes because there's new reason to hit the payment. A new study has shown that jogging, even in moderate amounts and at a less-than-challenging pace, can add years to your life. What more reason do you need to get out and run than that?

This study out of Denmark, led by Peter Schnohr, chief cardiologist of the Copenhagen City Heart Study, studied the mortality rates of 1,116 male joggers and 762 female joggers, and then compared them to the mortality rates of a group of 20,000 non-joggers.

The participants were asked questions concerning their activity levels, including how much time they spent jogging each week. Participants then rated their own perceptions of pace - with general measurements of slow, average and fast.

What they found was that women who regularly jogged lived an average of 5.6 years longer than women who didn't. And men who jogged lived an average of 6.2 years longer than those who didn't. The results showed that during a 35 year period, there were 10,158 deaths among the non-jogging participants, and only 122 deaths among the jogging group.

Researchers calculated that this means the risk of dying over the course of the study was reduced by a whopping 44 percent simply by jogging.

The study also showed that people who jogged less than one hour, and those more than 2.5 hours a week, were more likely to die (over the course of the study) than those were jogged for just 1 - 2.5 hours.

Researchers likened the results to previous alcohol intake studies. "Mortality is lower in people reporting moderate jogging, than in non-joggers or those undertaking extreme levels of exercise," said Schnor.

So the ideal length of time to jog appears to be between 1 and 2.5 hours per week at a moderate pace. "You should aim to feel a little breathless, but not very breathless," Schnor said. In other words, be able to talk to a running buddy without panting for air.

Practically speaking, this would mean a person would only have to complete three 20 minute jogs at a minimum, or four 35 minute jogs at maximum throughout the course of their week to add five or more years to their life.

I'm already a frequent jogger but this study reminded me that I don't have to maintain a grueling regimen to reap the benefits of running, which encourages me all the more to stick with jogging even if I'm short on time or am lacking energy.

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