Researchers Reveal That An Hour Of Running May Add Hours To Your Life | Men's Health Magazine Australia

An Hour Of Running May Add 7 Hours To Your Life

Over the last few years, running has gotten some bad press—suggestions that anything more than a gentle jog will damage your heart and send you to an early grave, and so on. 

Still, it had an effect. As RunningUSA reported last month, the number of road race finishers in the country declined for the third straight year in 2016, to 16,957,100 from 17,114,800. Back in 2013, the peak year for both running and running-will-kill-you scares, the number was over 19 million.

So I’m here to spread a little good news. A review paper published last month in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases takes a hard look at running as “a key lifestyle factor for longevity”—and concludes that it stacks up pretty well. Importantly, the authors aren’t just a bunch of running boosters: Iowa State’s Duck-chul Lee and New Orleans cardiologist Carl Lavie, in particular, have co-authored previous papers that raised questions about the dangers of too much running.

Much of the evidence that they review is familiar to those who’ve been following the debate. Basically, large-scale epidemiological studies suggest that the biggest health benefits come from very modest amounts of running. 

But there are some very interesting additional insights and analysis. For example, how much extra life does running grant you? Holding other factors equal, they get a relatively consistent estimate of about three years of extra life from several different studies. Interestingly, those benefits are nearly as big even if you start running relatively late in life.

Hang on, you say—what’s an extra three years if I have to spend basically that much time running? Well, first of all, I’d say that running is often very pleasurable, so I’d be more than happy to take “extra” life even if I had to spend it running.

RELATED: 3 Moves That Burn More Calories Than Running

But your math is off anyway, as the authors of the new review point out. If you were to spend 2.5 hours a week running for 50 years, you’d still only spend 0.74 years running. On balance, they conclude, every hour of running gives you seven extra hours of life.

This article was originally published by Men’s Health.

More From