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An Hour of Running May Add 7 Hours to Your Life

Discussion in 'Sports/Games/Hobbies' started by bic_cherry, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. bic_cherry

    bic_cherry Alfrescian Old Timer

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    An Hour of Running May Add 7 Hours to Your Life
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    April 12, 2017
    Phys Ed
    By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS
    Running may be the single most effective exercise to increase life expectancy, according to a new review and analysis of past research about exercise and premature death. The new study found that, compared to nonrunners, runners tended to live about three additional years, even if they run slowly or sporadically and smoke, drink or are overweight. No other form of exercise that researchers looked at showed comparable impacts on life span.

    The findings come as a follow-up to a study done three years ago, in which a group of distinguished exercise scientists scrutinized data from a large trove of medical and fitness tests conducted at the Cooper Institute in Dallas. That analysis found that as little as five minutes of daily running was associated with prolonged life spans.

    After that study was released, the researchers were inundated with queries from fellow scientists and the general public, says Duck-chul Lee, a professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University and a co-author of the study. Some people asked if other activities, such as walking, were likely to be as beneficial as running for reducing mortality risks.

    High-mileage runners wondered if they could be doing too much, and if at some undefined number of miles or hours, running might become counterproductive and even contribute to premature mortality,

    And a few people questioned whether running really added materially to people’s life spans. Could it be, they asked rather peevishly, that if in order to reduce your risk of dying by a year, you had to spend the equivalent of a year’s worth of time on the trails or track, producing no discernible net gain?

    So for the new study, which was published last month in Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, Dr. Lee and his colleagues set out to address those and related issues by reanalyzing data from the Cooper Institute and also examining results from a number of other large-scale recent studies looking into the associations between exercise and mortality.

    Over all, this new review reinforced the findings of the earlier research, the scientists determined. Cumulatively, the data indicated that running, whatever someone’s pace or mileage, dropped a person’s risk of premature death by almost 40 percent, a benefit that held true even when the researchers controlled for smoking, drinking and a history of health problems such as hypertension or obesity.

    Using those numbers, the scientists then determined that if every nonrunner who had been part of the reviewed studies took up the sport, there would have been 16 percent fewer deaths over all, and 25 percent fewer fatal heart attacks. (One caveat: the participants in those studies were mostly white and middle class.)

    Perhaps most interesting, the researchers calculated that, hour for hour, running statistically returns more time to people’s lives than it consumes. Figuring two hours per week of training, since that was the average reported by runners in the Cooper Institute study, the researchers estimated that a typical runner would spend less than six months actually running over the course of almost 40 years, but could expect an increase in life expectancy of 3.2 years, for a net gain of about 2.8 years.

    In concrete terms, an hour of running statistically lengthens life expectancy by seven hours, the researchers report.

    Of course, these additions “are not infinite,” Dr. Lee says. Running does not make people immortal. The gains in life expectancy are capped at around three extra years, he says, however much people run.

    The good news is that prolonged running does not seem to become counterproductive for longevity, he continues, according to the data he and his colleagues reviewed. Improvements in life expectancy generally plateaued at about four hours of running per week, Dr. Lee says. But they did not decline.

    Meanwhile, other kinds of exercise also reliably benefited life expectancy, the researchers found, but not to the same degree as running. Walking, cycling and other activities, even if they required the same exertion as running, typically dropped the risk of premature death by about 12 percent. (To make my own biases clear, I run but I also love cycling and I walk my dogs every day.)

    Why running should be so uniquely potent against early mortality remains uncertain, Dr. Lee says. But it is likely, he says, that it combats many of the common risk factors for early death, including high blood pressure and extra body fat, especially around the middle.

    It also raises aerobic fitness, he says, and high aerobic fitness is one of the best-known indicators of an individual’s long-term health.

    Of course, the findings in this new review are associational, meaning that they prove that people who run tend also to be people who live longer, but not that running directly causes the increases in longevity. Runners typically also lead healthy lives, Dr. Lee says, and their lifestyles may be playing an outsize role in mortality.

    But even taking that possibility into consideration, he says, the data suggest that running could add years to our lives.
    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/04/...running-may-add-seven-hours-to-your-life.html
     
  2. CoffeeAhSoh

    CoffeeAhSoh Alfrescian Old Timer

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    walking for the same amount of time leads to the same benefits.
     
  3. CoffeeAhSoh

    CoffeeAhSoh Alfrescian Old Timer

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    5 surprising benefits of walking

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    The next time you have a check-up, don't be surprised if your doctor hands you a prescription to walk. Yes, this simple activity that you've been doing since you were about a year old is now being touted as "the closest thing we have to a wonder drug," in the words of Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Of course, you probably know that any physical activity, including walking, is a boon to your overall health. But walking in particular comes with a host of benefits. Here's a list of five that may surprise you.

    1. It counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes. Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much these genes actually contribute to body weight. They then discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.

    2. It helps tame a sweet tooth. A pair of studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations. And the latest research confirms that walking can reduce cravings and intake of a variety of sugary snacks.

    3. It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers already know that any kind of physical activity blunts the risk of breast cancer. But an American Cancer Society study that zeroed in on walking found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.

    4. It eases joint pain. Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain, and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects the joints — especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis — by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.

    5. It boosts immune function. Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.

    To learn more about the numerous benefits of walking, as well as easy ways to incorporate a walk into your daily routine, buy Walking for Health, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

    https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking
     

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