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Run For Longer Life.


Running is an extremely popular leisure activity and increasing in popularity all the time. The range is vast – all ages from young children to people well into their nineties.
Distances range from a couple of miles to marathons and beyond.

The recommendation from the World Health Organization and other health associations is to do 150 minutes moderate exercise a week, such as brisk walking, dancing or cycling. Either that or 75 minutes intense exercise, like running or hard cycling where the heart and lungs have to do much more work.

When it comes to extending life expectancy, running seems to be the most effective form of exercise.
A study at Iowa State University in the USA followed over 55,000 adults, aged between 18 and 100 over a 15 year period. The runners made up 24% of the group, although their running distance and speed varied.
The runners had 30% lower risk of any cause of mortality and a 45% lower risk of heart/stroke mortality. Overall, the runners had an extra 3 years life expectancy over the non-runners. Even smokers and those over-weight who ran fared better than the non-runners.

How Much Is Enough?
Analysing the type and length of running found that distance and speed of the running seemed to make little difference to the results.
Running at the slow speed of 6 miles per hour for just 10 minutes brought significantly lower risks of death from all causes. Fast runners doing 150 minutes a week had a slightly better life-span than the slow runners but there was not a great deal of difference. Persistence and regularity in the runner did make a difference, however. A little and often seems to be important.

Even the busiest person should be able to manage 5 to 10 minutes a day for a light jog, considering the benefits are so great.

An extended life span can come from many forms of intense activity, but running has to be one of the simplest and easiest to get involved in. Little equipment is required, there are no expensive gym fees and it can be fitted into your own schedule.
Detailed analysis factored in habits like drinking, smoking, hypertension and obesity. Even with this consideration, the runners had an average of 40% lower risk of premature death.

Is The Time A Good Investment?
But is the time spent running a good investment in the extended life obtained? Extreme runners can gain an extra 3 years, while very modest runners do nearly as well. With an average of two hours running a week over 40 years takes under six months. Taking this off the extra life expectancy of 3.2 years gives a net gain of 2.7 years. Even less running will do almost as well.

The motto is “Run For A Longer Life”, but long-distance running has to be for fun.

Cycling and other aerobic activities produce their own extended life expectancy, but the gain is not as dramatic. The reason is not clear from these researches, although running certainly shakes up the body more than most exercise. Perhaps those who run tend to have a slightly healthier life-style in other respects, but running is certainly particularly good at improving cardiovascular health, improving circulation and reducing stress.