Take Two (MileI am often asked what’s the best way to stay healthy and avoid medications and even avoid visiting the doctor. I am of the opinion that running may be the single most effective exercise to increase life expectancy. The new study found that, compared to non-runners, runners tended to live about three additional years, even if they run slowly.
The findings from the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, TX found that as little as five minutes of daily running was associated with prolonged life spans.
Cumulatively, the data indicated that running, whatever someone’s pace or mileage, dropped a person’s risk of premature death by almost 40 percent, a benefit that held true even when the researchers controlled for smoking, drinking and a history of health problems such as hypertension or obesity.
Scientists then determined that if every non-runner who had been part of the reviewed studies took up the sport, there would have been 16 percent fewer deaths over all, and 25 percent fewer fatal heart attacks.
Perhaps most interesting, the researchers calculated that, hour for hour, running statistically returns more time to people’s lives. Figuring two hours per week of training, since that was the average reported by runners in the Cooper Institute study, the researchers estimated that a typical runner would spend less than six months actually running over the course of almost 40 years, but could expect an increase in life expectancy of 3.2 years, for a net gain of about 2.8 years.
Bottom Line: an hour of running statistically lengthens life expectancy by seven hours for each hour on the track. So a combination of diet and regular exercise is better than an apple to keep the doctor away!