Jogging Extends Life Expectancy for Men by 6.2 Years and Women by 5.6 Years?

That’s what the Copenhagen City Heart Study would tell you! And that’s no small fad study, either! It’s been ongoing since 1976, with the first set of data collected between 1976 and 1978, the second from 1981 to 1983, the third from 1991 to 1994, and the fourth from 2001 to 2003. The study followed 20,000 men and women of all different ages, between 20 and 90. Among them were 1,116 male joggers and 762 female joggers. Further, this study has been cited in over 750 scientific papers!

This study may not be well known to a lot of runners because it wasn’t solely on the impact of jogging. That’s probably why there have been so many scientific citations to it but it not being well known by many runners. But they have enough data now to do comparisons and see the impact of running.

“The results of our research allow us to definitively answer the question of whether jogging is good for your health. 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.”

– Peter Schnohr, chief cardiologist of the Copenhagen City Heart Study

So what’s not doing “that much” that will get you the benefits of this increased life expectancy?

Between one and two-and-a-half hours of jogging per week at a “slow or average” pace.

Really! That’s like three 20 minute runs a week, to five 30 minute runs a week, or something in between! Without lots of exertion, either!

That’s quite manageable for a lot of people! Good news all around!

Well, except for me and most of my running friends. They’re pretty much all elite, marathoner, ultra or some combination thereof. They, and I with my 31 marathons, are all going to die early for the pounding we put our bodies through. 😦

Too bad. But for the rest of you who don’t run in those categories, this is great news!

For those of you skeptical about these “data” analysis sort of life studies where so many other factors can influence the outcome of life expectancy, I would offer two pieces of rebuttal:

  • These studies are pretty rigorous to discount for those other influences, like removal from data set for accidental deaths.
  • If you can convince yourself to believe the results, you can probably self-fulfill your contribution to the data set (if you had been part of it).

Really, believing is more than half the battle… not too different when you’re out there running and needing to finish something long, like life. 😉

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