Jogging regularly can increase people’s lifespan by more than five years, according to a recent research analysis from Denmark.
Peter Schnohr, chief cardiologist of the Copenhagen City Heart Study, said to delegates at a European Society of Cardiology meeting in Dublin that between one and two-and-a-half hours of jogging per week could add around 6.2 years to men and 5.6 years to women.
“The results of our research allow us to definitively answer the question of whether jogging is good for your health," said Schnohr in a statement.
"We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity,” Schnohr added.
The health benefit of jogging was questioned in the 1970s when few men died while running. Some suggested the jogging might be “too strenuous for ordinary middle aged people”.
Reviewing the evidence of whether jogging is healthy or hazardous by Copenhagen City Heart suggested that jogging in fact is beneficial to longevity, and it is not strenuous to receive the benefits. A simple 60-minute of running per week could do the job.
“You don't actually need to do that much to reap the benefits,” said Schnohr.
He recommended that joggers should aim to feel “a little breathless, but not very breathless.”
The Copenhagen City Heart study started in 1976, studying around 20,000 men and women between the ages of 20 to 93 years old. The study published over 750 papers, including research in the areas of heart failure, pulmonary diseases, allergy, epilepsy, dementia, sleep-apnea, and genetics.
The jogging study compared around 2,000 joggers – 1,116 male and 762 female – to non-joggers. A total of four sets of data were collected: 1976-78, 1981-83, 1991-94, and 2001-03. The participants were also asked the time they spend on jogging per week and their own perception of pace.
During the 35-year period, over 10,000 deaths were registered among non-joggers, compared to only 122 deaths among joggers. The analysis also showed that the risk of death was reduced by 44 percent to both male and female joggers. Life expectancy increased by 6.2 years in men and 5.6 years in women.
In addition to longevity, Schnohr said jogging has other health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, improving cardiac function, preventing obesity, and improving psychological function.
They study has been published yet in a peer-reviewed medical journal yet and Schnohr will present his findings at the "Assessing prognosis: a glimpse of the future" symposium at the meeting on Saturday.