Jogging May Add Years To Your Life

By Amir Khan on May 4, 2012 12:43 PM EDT

Jogging
Female boxer and Olympic hopeful Spencer jogs through a neighborhood during training in Windsor. A new study reveals that not only is jogging beneficial, it could also add up to six years to your life. (Photo: Reuters)

It may come as no surprise that jogging is good for your health, but a debate has been raging over whether there is any benefit to the activity. However a new study reveals that not only is jogging beneficial, it could also add up to six years to your life.

The debate over whether jogging is actually good for you began in the 1970s, researchers said. Many middle aged men took up the past-time but died while on a run.

"After a few men died while out on a run, various newspapers suggested that jogging might be too strenuous for ordinary middle aged people," Peter Schnohr, study author and chief cardiologist at the Copenhagen City Heart Study, said in a statement

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Researchers said their findings show once and for all that jogging is good for you. Jogging increased the life expectancy by 6.2 years in men and 5.6 years in women.

"The results of our research allow us to definitively answer the question of whether jogging is good for your health," Schnohr said. "We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity. The good news is that you don't actually need to do that much to reap the benefits."

Simply jogging for one to 2.5 hours a week at a slow or average pace delivered the maximum benefit, according to the study.  

"You should aim to feel a little breathless, but not very breathless," Schnohr said.

Researchers asked over 2,000 joggers about their jogging habits, including how often and how fast they jogged. They compared the joggers to over 20,000 non joggers to create a large sample size.

"With participants having such a wide age span we felt that a subjective scale of intensity was the most appropriate approach," Schnohr said.

The researchers found that over 35 years 10,158 non-joggers died compared to only 122 joggers. This means that joggers are at a 44 percent less risk of dying than non-joggers, researchers said.

Jogging has a plethora of health benefits, according to the study. It improves oxygen intake, lowers cholesterol and boosts heart and immune function.

"Mortality is lower in people reporting moderate jogging, than in non-joggers or those undertaking extreme levels of exercise," Schnohr said in the statement.

The researchers presented their study at a meeting of the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation in Dublin on Thursday.

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