Regular jogging increases life expectancy significantly, new research suggests
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Danish researchers found that regular jogging increased the life expectancy of men by 6.2 years and women by 5.2 years.
They also found that between one to two-and-a-half hours of jogging every week at a "slow or average pace" was most beneficial when it came to adding years to your life.
The research was part of the Copenhagen City Heart study, which started in 1976 and was designed to track heart and circulatory disease in around 20,000 men and women aged 20 to 93.
For the jogging sub study, the researchers compared the lifespans of 1,116 male joggers and 762 female joggers with the non-joggers in the main heart study population.
All study participants were asked questions about the amount of time they spent jogging each week, and whether they ran at a slow, average or fast pace.
The study found that the risk of death was reduced by 44 per cent for both male and female joggers compared with non-joggers.
Jogging at a moderate pace for between one hour and two-and-a half hours a week, over two to three sessions, appeared to work best, scientists said.
"The results of our research allow us to definitively answer the question of whether jogging is good for your health," said Dr Peter Schnohr, chief cardiologist of the Copenhagen City Heart Study.
"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.
"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.
"You should aim to feel a little breathless, but not very breathless," he advised.
He also added that jogging delivered multiple health benefits including improving oxygen uptake, cardiac function, bone density and the immune system, as well as preventing obesity and lowering blood pressure.
Natasha Stewart, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Physical activity has long been associated with improved health and so it’s no surprise to see just how beneficial jogging could be.
"Jogging might not be for everybody but there are plenty of other ways to keep active. Swimming, walking or even a spot of gardening can be beneficial, too. If you have concerns about the impact of exercise on your health, visit your GP first."
The findings will be presented at a European Society of Cardiology conference in Dublin.