There have been several studies on running and longevity. The studies all point to the fact that physical exercise generally lengthens people lives.
One of the leading lights in this field is Dr. Peter Schnohr, who has published several studies on the topic. Here is Schnohr’s summary from a recent study, “The results of our research allow us to definitively answer the question of whether jogging is good for your health…… 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.”
Some important points:
1. Get out and moving.
2. There has been a debate as to how hard you need to train, and a number of doctors that state that athletes who regularly up their heart rates to near max could get themselves into trouble. I am not qualified to comment on this and would welcome thoughts from any cardiac specialists who might read this. It is a good idea to check with your doctor before embarking on a strenuous exercise program in any case.
3. The main research project analyzed people between the ages of 20 and 79. Patients were studied in two year periods in 1976, 1986, 1991 and 2001. Those that ran at least one and a half hours per week lived more than 6 years longer than those who didn’t run.
4. We see all types of runners here. Some are getting ready for their 25th Comrades, while some are happy to train a few times during the week and cap off the week with a Parkrun. The good news is that you don’t have to go ballistic, the Parkrun model will make a difference to your longevity.
5. I am indebted to a Pilates instructor who pointed out to me that Dr. Kelly Starrett in his book, Deskbound – Standing up in a Sitting World, states that this young generation, your children – if you have, might have a shorter life expectancy than you. Longevity has been increasing over the years with a better understanding of nutrition and medical breakthroughs that have taken place.
That trend might be about to change as our kids spend more and more time in front of cell phones, TV sets, tablets and laptops. Sedentary lifestyles kill – movement is medicine. I know I sound like a fuddy duddy when I tell the younger generation that we didn’t have iPhones and tablets and that we played on our bikes, climbed trees, kicked soccer balls and swam as children. So, get your children outside, in the sun and running around. Oh – and make sure you do the same yourself.
For more on the subject of longevity, look at my review of the book, Blue Zones.
See you on the road or in the pool.
Ref: Journal of the American College of Cardiology
Volume 65, Issue 5, February 2015