Running Regularly Adds to Life Expectancy


Running is a very tiring task to some, though others enjoy it. Regardless of how you feel about running, researchers have found that a single hour of this activity could add seven hours to your life.

In a 2014 study, scientists collected data from a colossal group of people in medical and fitness tests at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas. The researchers behind the study found that five minutes of daily running prolongs a runner’s life. 

The study sought to answer the questions of whether or not walking and other forms of exercise lengthen an individual’s life and whether or not too much running can have a counterproductive effect. Specifically, Dr. Lee--lead researcher--and his colleagues tried to figure out the mechanism behind why running lengthens one’s lifespan. They collected data from mostly Caucasian, middle-class people and found that just running slowly for a short distance and gradually working up to longer distances drops runners’ risk of premature death by 40 percent. This even held true for the runners in the study who smoked, drank, had breathing problems, or were obese.

The researchers also calculated that if non-runners in the study began running, they would see a 16 percent decrease in deaths and a 25 percent decrease in fatal heart attacks. Further, they determined that if a runner trained for just two hours a week, he or she would ultimately end up running fewer than six months in 40 years, but would then gain an additional 3.2 years of life expectancy. Finally, the scientists found that running for long periods of time did not negatively impact at all.

Running, a seemingly boring form of exercise to some, may now have more interest thanks to Dr. Lee’s studies. In fact, research like his could lead to an increased amount of people running to live longer, healthier lives.

[Source: The New York Times]

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