Posted by Carlos Velez on September 04, 2014
Can running really help you live longer?
It's an interesting question because when we think of running, we think about the near-term benefits, such as weight loss.
But running to live longer?
How can this be?
In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers followed over 55,000 adults over a 15 year period to see if there is a relationship between running and life span.
About 25% of this group were runners.
So the study is large, which is good.
What did the researchers find?
- People who did not run had a life expectancy of about 3 years less than those who did run.
- Running was linked to a 30% lower risk of death from any cause, and a whopping 45% lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke.
- Persistent runners obtained the greatest health benefits from their running compared to occasional runners
What do we think?
On the surface, these results seem rather obvious.
If you perform vigorous exercise on a regular basis, then you're likely healthier, and therefore at a lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke from high cholesterol or other cause.
Makes perfect sense to us.
However, what is rather curious is that the amount of running can be low.
Only 5-10 minutes of running on a regular basis can have this health benefit.
This suggest to us that the benefit form running may be more than simply lower weight and lower cholesterol.
For example, some researchers note that people who exercise have longer telomeres, which are the "caps" at the end of our DNA.
Longer telomeres are associated with longer life.
Could short, frequent bursts of exercise help us lengthen our telomeres, thereby extending our life?
What are the risks?
Running is great exercise, but it is a rather high-impact exercise.
Shin splints, sprains, and other injuries are very common amongst runners.
So starting slow and staying within your physical limits are very important.
Will I live longer because I do this?
Remember to listen to your body.
Pain can even be prevented by using knee compression sleeves.
So get out there and start running!
Remember, you only need 10 minutes a day to gain the health benefits over the long-term.
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