A presentation at the EuroPRevent 2012 meeting, held May 3-5, 2012, in Dublin, revealed that men and women who regularly jog live at least five years longer on average than those who don’t. Jogging at a slow or moderate pace a few times per week compared to a faster pace or longer times was found to be associated with the greatest benefit.
The investigation involved approximately 20,000 participants in the Copenhagen City Heart study, which began in 1976. Peter Schnohr of Bispebjerg University Hospital in Copenhagen and his associates compared 1,116 male joggers and 762 female joggers to participants who did not engage in jogging. Subjects answered questions concerning time and pace of jogging, and the researchers noted any deaths that occurred during up to 35 years of follow-up.
While 122 deaths took place among those who jogged, 10,158 occurred among non-joggers. The risk of dying over follow up was 44 percent lower for joggers, resulting in a survival increase of 6.2 years for men and 5.6 years for women. One to two-and-one-half hours per week of jogging, performed in two to three sessions, conferred the greatest benefits, particularly when the pace was slow or average. “The relationship appears much like alcohol intakes,” commented Dr Schnohr, who is chief cardiologist of the Copenhagen City Heart Study. “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.”
“The results of our research allow us to definitively answer the question of whether jogging is good for your health,” Dr Schnohr concluded. “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.”