An hour or two per week of jogging at a moderate pace can help you live five to six years longer, according to research shared at a major European cardiology conference this week.
The finding was based on an analysis of the Copenhagen City Heart Study, which enrolled 20,000 men and women ages 20-93 in the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and from 2001 to 2003. Researchers compared data on more than 1,800 joggers with non-joggers participating in the study, following subjects for up to 35 years.
Jogging was linked with a 44 percent lower risk of death for both men and women, and the data showed that jogging boosted life expectancy by 6.2 years for men and 5.6 years for women. But the health benefits of jogging – like those associated with drinking red wine – are greatest in moderation, with mortality lower in people reporting just one to two and a half hours of average-pace jogging per week than in non-joggers or those who took jogging to extremes.
To achieve the ideal jogging pace, aim to feel just “a little breathless,” the authors advise. They attribute a number of health benefits to the practice:
• Improved oxygen uptake
• Increased insulin sensitivity
• Higher HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides
• Lower blood pressure
• Improved heart function
• Increased bone density
• Boosted immune function
• Obesity prevention
• Improved mood
The research was presented May 3 at the EuroPRevention2012 meeting organized by a branch of the European Society of Cardiology.