A peer-reviewed study recently published in the medical journal, Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, seems to show that every hour you spend running adds an extra 7 hours to your life span. Does that sound like a good deal to you?
Scientists undertook a detailed study of data that explored associations between exercise and mortality (death). The most impressive finding was that running lowered the risk of premature death by a massive 40%. That figure applied to running health no matter how far, how fast or how often they ran.
The study backs up research conducted about three years ago. That research analysed collected data from a fitness and medical tests conducted in Dallas, USA. It demonstrated that even the shortest daily run of just 5 minutes was enough to influence and extend a person’s life span.
The new study also took variables into account like smoking, obesity and drinking, and it still showed the prolonged results, which is a great encouragement for anyone to try to incorporate running into their weekly schedule.
Don’t get your hopes up for immortality, though. It looks like the maximum return on investment is around 3 years. The good news is that there seems to be no negative effect on lifespan if you spend more time increasing your running health each week. The benefits of running seem to taper off at about 4 hours a week. As there is no decline in life span indicated after exceeding that amount, there’s no harm in running more often if you enjoy it.
If you have family or friends who aren’t excited about running, don’t worry – the research also showed a reduced risk of premature death in participants who regularly cycled or walked. Running returned the most pronounced results, but researchers haven’t narrowed down why that’s the case.
While the researchers can demonstrate there is an association between running and longer lifespans, they cannot say that running health alone is the cause. It may be connected to the fact that most runners do make other efforts to maintain their health. There is little doubt, however, that if you’re keen to run regularly, the health benefits can add up over time.
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