Wanna live longer? Then you should give jogging a go.
Why? Because undertaking regular jogging increases the life expectancy of men by 6.2 years and women by 5.6 years, according to the latest data from the Copenhagen City Heart study presented at the EuroPRevent2012 meeting, in Ireland.
Peter Schnohr, MD, who is chief cardiologist of the Copenhagen City Heart Study, revealed that the study most recent analysis (still unpublished) shows that jogging at a “slow or average” pace, as little as 20 minutes, three times a week delivers optimum benefits for longevity.
The study which began in 1976, is a prospective cardiovascular population study of around 20,000 men and women aged between 20 to 93 years, and compares the mortality of the “joggers”, 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). "With participants having such a wide age span we felt that a subjective scale of intensity was the most appropriate approach," explained Schnohr, who is based at Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen.
The first set of data collected between 1976 and 1978, the second from 1981 to 1983, the third from 1991 to 1994, and the fourth from 2001 to 2003.
The amount of data collected is enormous, and the results are spectacular.
Analysis showed that risk of death was reduced by 44% for male joggers (age-adjusted hazard ratio 0.56) and 44% for female joggers (age-adjusted hazard ratio 0.56). Furthermore the data showed jogging produced an age adjusted survival benefit of 6.2 years in men and 5.6 years in women.
"The relationship appears much like alcohol intakes. Mortality is lower in people reporting moderate jogging, than in non-joggers or those undertaking extreme levels of exercise," said Schnohr.
The ideal pace can be achieved by striving to feel a little breathless. "You should aim to feel a little breathless, but not very breathless," he advised.
Researchers believe the extended survival is due to avoided heart attacks and strokes.
Jogging, said Schnohr, 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.
"The improved psychological well being may be down to fact that people have more social interactions when they're out jogging," concluded Schnohr.
The findings of this study are particularly relevant because the amount of data collected is massive, and spans onto a considerable amount of time. Thus, it acquires an important statistical validity that other smaller studies fail to have.
I have to admit that it throwed me back a bit, especially when it pointed out that moderate exercise delivers optimum health benefits while intense exercise (such as the one I’m engaging in every single day) fails to do so.
But, beside that, as we already said so many times already, there’s nothing quite like exercise to live better and longer!
The Iron You