Want to Add Years to Your Life? Start Jogging

New research finds jogging extends your life by several years.

Are you a jogger? Do you like to put on your sneakers and head for a brisk run? If you do you are probably aware of the benefits of jogging. But, now there is research that quantifies how much you are extending your life by jogging.

According to Danish researchers regular jogging increases life expectancy 6.2 years for men and 5.6 years for women. Doesn’t that make you want to get up and go?

Researchers found that between one and two-and-a-half hours of jogging per week at a “slow or average” pace delivers the best possible benefits for extending your life.

“We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity,” said the researchers. “The good news is that you don’t actually need to do that much to reap the benefits.”

Jogging Debate Goes Back Decades

The question of the health or longevity impact of jogging has gone on for decades. As early 1970s, when author and jogger Jim Fixx helped propel jogging into an everyone-can-do-it proposition (even though Fixx later died – but not because of jogging) jogging has been an it’s good/it’s bad debate – even though that hasn’t stopped millions of people from jogging.

The Danish study, which started in 1976, studied 20,000 men and women aged between 20 to 93 years and on a number of health issues, only one of which is about jogging. For the jogging study, the death rate of 1,116 male joggers and 762 female joggers was compared to the non-joggers. All participants were asked to answer questions about the amount of time they spent jogging each week, and to rate their own perceptions of pace (defined as slow, average, and fast).

The first data was collected between 1976 to 1978, the second from 1981 to 1983, the third from 1991 to 1994, and the fourth from 2001 to 2003. Results show that in the follow-up period involving a maximum of 35 years, 10,158 deaths were registered among the non-joggers and 122 deaths among the joggers. Analysis showed that risk of death was reduced by 44 percent for male joggers and 44 percent for female joggers. The study also showed jogging produced an age adjusted survival benefit of 6.2 years in men and 5.6 years in women.

Health Benefits of Jogging

The study also showed a U-shaped curve for the relationship between the time spent exercising and mortality. The researchers found that between one hour and two and a half hours a week, undertaken over two to three sessions, delivered the optimum benefits, especially when performed at a slow or average pace. The ideal pace can be achieved by jogging until one feels a little breathless, say the researchers.

Jogging delivers multiple health benefits. It improves oxygen uptake, increases insulin sensitivity, improves lipid profiles (raising HDL and lowering triglycerides), lowers blood pressure, reduces platelet aggregation, increases fibrinolytic activity, improves cardiac function, bone density, immune function, reduces inflammation markers, prevents obesity, and improves psychological function.

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  1. Good post but jogging is not an option for everyone

  2. Can I assume the same health benefits for fast paced walking?

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