By Scott Douglas
Small amounts of easy running done consistently can extend lifespan by as much as six years, according to research that will be presented on Saturday, May 5, at a conference in Dublin, Ireland.
In the latest analysis of data from an ongoing study of residents of Copenhagen, Denmark, researchers found that those who reported running one to two-and-a-half hours per week had an increased life expectancy of 6.2 years for men and 5.6 years for women, compared to sedentary residents.
The chief cardiologist of the Copenhagen City Heart Study, Peter Schnor, noted that the study data on running was akin to what other studies have shown on alcohol consumption--the biggest benefit seems to come from people who follow a regular but moderate approach, compared to either extreme of abstention or overindulgence. "Mortality is lower in people reporting moderate jogging, than in non-joggers or those undertaking extreme levels of exercise," said Schnor.
The Copenhagen study involves almost 20,000 city residents who were between the ages of 20 and 93 in 1976. It has previously found similar protective benefits for activity in general and cycling in particular.