Just when I was looking for an excuse not to go running anymore I stumbled on an article in Time Magazine titled “Runner’s High: Joggers Live Longer“. Ugh.. So – what’s this all about?
That runner’s high may translate into a lot of other long-lasting health benefits, a new report from an ongoing study suggests. Researchers have found that regular jogging, or any consistent aerobic exercise, in middle age and late in life may reduce people’s risk of disabilities and help them live longer and healthier.
The study looked at two groups of people, those who run regularly, and those that never do. Other than that indicator the two groups were relatively similar in their makeup.
The two groups were looked at over a 20 year period, and here is what they found:
Researchers analyzed the accumulated data at 8 years, 13 years and, most recently in 2005, the 21-year mark. Not surprisingly, the data showed that exercise was a boon to health. Over the years, compared with the never-exercisers, people who exercised regularly — in addition to running, activities included biking, aerobic dance and swimming — showed improved aerobic capacity, better cardiovascular fitness, increased bone mass, fewer inflammatory markers, less physical disability, better response to vaccinations and even improved thinking, learning and memory. They also lived significantly longer.
The article continued:
By year 19 of the study, 15% of the runners had died, compared with 34% of the non-running control group. Not only did fewer runners die of cardiovascular causes, but fewer died of other causes such as neurological and infectious disorders. At 21 years into the study, the authors reported, the running group experienced fewer disabilities in eight basic daily functions, including walking, eating, dressing, grip strength and routine physical activities — reporting, on average, one mild disability out of the eight. Never-runners recorded one to two disabilities on average, and were more likely to have a complete disability in one of those daily functions. Even as participants approach their 90s, the groups’ disability and survival curves continue to diverge.
So, if you’re not already running, biking, dancing or swimming (or other aerobic activity), it’s time to start. It’s never too late! So get moving!