Study: Running Prolongs Life Expectancy

Running seems to increase life expectancy of both men and women, says the Copenhagen City Heart Study presented at the meeting EuroPRevent2012. The study’s author, Peter Schnohr, explained that running about “one or two hours a week is associated with significant benefits in terms of increase in life span”.

“The results of our research allowed us to definitively answer the question of whether running is good for your health,” said Schnohr, chief cardiologist of the Copenhagen City Heart Study. “With our recorded data”, he said, “we can say with certainty that running regularly increases longevity. The good news is it does not have to be too intense to reap positive benefits.”

The Copenhagen City Heart Study, which began in 1976, is a prospective study of a population of around 20,000 people, men and women aged between 20 and 93.

The study aimed to increase knowledge about the prevention of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. Since then, work has expanded to include other diseases such as heart failure, lung diseases, allergies, epilepsy, dementia, sleep apnea and genetics. Researchers have explored the associations of longevity with different forms of exercise and other factors.

In this case, they compared the mortality of 1,116 male and 762 female runners with the people who did not jog. All participants were asked about the time spent to run weekly and at what pace they did.

Fewer deaths Recorded

The first data was collected between 1976 and 1978, and later in 1981 to 1983 in 1991 to 1994 and from 2001 to 2003. The results show that during the monitoring period there were 10,158 deaths among non-runners and 122 deaths among runners. The analysis showed that the risk of death was reduced by 44% for male and female runners. In addition, the data showed that running led to a life expectancy benefit of 6.2 years in men and 5.6 years for women.

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