A team of researchers from Iowa State University found that running is the best kind of exercise. If you spend two hours of your week running at any speed you like, you are more likely to increase your lifespan with three years.
For the study, published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, researchers looked at previously collected data and older studies and looked how exercise is connected to longevity. One of the previous studies, performed at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, discovered that running every week for five or ten minutes at a slow speed reduces the risk of mortality by 30 percent.
Running every week gains you three more years of life
This research spiced many questions. People wondered if walking is also beneficial, or if running might become harmful to the body after a certain point. The new study came in support of the previous one. Running at any pace or speed you like increases life expectancy by 40 percent. Actually, if you spent around two hours running per week, you would gain three more years of life.
However, this stops here. You might spend a lot more time running, but it is quite impossible to gain more than extra three years. The peak of longevity is usually acquired from four hours of running per week, but it does not change significantly if you run for more or fewer hours.
The good news is that this benefit also applies to people with certain health problems, or to those who are smokers and drinkers. They can also benefit from other activities, such as walking or cycling. However, they are not as powerful as running. Walking and cycling reduce the mortality risk by 12 percent.
How does running increase life expectancy?
Researchers could not find what exactly makes running the best way to acquire longevity, but they suspect that the healthy lifestyle of the runners might be responsible. These people are usually more careful with what they eat and take better care of themselves.
Also, although speed does not influence life expectancy directly, a slower pace might be better. A study from 2015 suggests that slow joggers are those who live longer. On the other hand, those who ran fast and often showed no benefit, just like those who did not engage in any exercise.
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