Can regular running lead to a longer life? It certainly could, according to a a recent study published in a medical journal.
“We found that runners had a 3.2 years longer life expectancy, compared with non-runners,” researchers concluded in an article titled “Running as a Key Lifestyle Medicine for Longevity,” published in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.
The Montreal Gazette reported that the study showed runner runners have a 25 to 40 percent reduced risk of premature mortality, the researchers—who hail from Harvard Medical School, Iowa State University, Hartford Hospital, University of South Carolina and University of Queensland School of Medicine—noted that running protects against cardiovascular disease and cancer, two leading causes of death in developed countries.
If you pull on a bathing suit every day instead of a pair of running shoes, you’re probably asking how this boost in longevity from running compares to swimming laps, among other forms of exercise.
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First, it’s worth noting that regular bouts of any type of physical activity will reduce your risk of death. A sedentary lifestyle accounts for nine per cent of all-cause mortality worldwide and is considered the No. 4 risk factor for premature death, with high blood pressure, cigarette smoking and high blood glucose ranking one through three respectively.
Yet given roughly the same amount of physical activity, the risk of an early death was reduced by 27 per cent among runners who didn’t do any other type of exercise, versus a 12 per cent reduction in mortality among exercisers who didn’t run.
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Clearly, running isn’t the only workout that helps you stay healthier longer. But there is a suggestion that it’s one of the more efficient means of warding off premature death, especially when compared to something like walking. According to the researchers’ calculations, it takes 15 to 105 minutes of walking to reap the same mortality-reduction benefits achieved from 5 to 25 minutes of running.