Study: running statistically increases lifespan
I used to hate running. All that has changed since I quit smoking. While running is still tiring and sometimes painful depending how hard I’m pushing myself, I really enjoy the scenery and being outside. Now that I know I’m improving my statistical chances of living longer I am doubly enervated.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – People who want to live a long and healthy life might want to take up running. A study published on Monday shows middle-aged members of a runner’s club were half as likely to die over a 20-year period as people who did not run.
Half as likely to die is significant. Reduced risk of heart disease? Significant? Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s? Significant. Not dying as early? Significant.
The team surveyed 284 members of a nationwide running club and 156 similar, healthy people as controls. They all came from the university’s faculty and staff and had similar social and economic backgrounds, and all were 50 or older.
Starting in 1984, each volunteer filled out an annual survey on exercise frequency, weight and disability for eight activities — rising, dressing and grooming, hygiene, eating, walking, reach, hand grip and routine physical activities.
Most of the volunteers did some exercise, but runners exercised as much as 200 minutes a week, compared to 20 minutes for the non-runners.
At the beginning, the runners were leaner and less likely to smoke compared with the controls. And they exercised more over the whole study period in general.
“Over time, all groups decreased running activity, but the runners groups continued to accumulate more minutes per week of vigorous activity of all kinds,” the researchers wrote.
Of note is that any vigorous activity seems to be appropriate! Bad knees? Swimming will work? Don’t like running at all? Bike instead. All you need is 200 minutes a week! There are 10080 minutes in a week. That translates to slightly less than 2% of your available time. That seems well worth the payoff to me.