The Journal of the American College of Cardiology has published a study which sheds some new light on physical exercise and longevity. Despite decades of popular wisdom on the subject, the truth is that we don't know nearly as much as we should about if, or to what degree, runners accrue any benefit in terms of increased life span. Oh sure, we all assume that folks who exercise regularly live longer, but what's actually known on the subject isn't quite so certain..
The authors looked at the dose-response relationship between running and both cardiovascular and "all cause" mortality. The study followed 55,000 + adults, ages 18-100 years, over a period of 15 years. Runners demonstrated a 30 percent lower risk of "all cause" mortality and a 45 percent reduction in cardiovascular death as compared to non runners. This equated to approximately 3 years of increased life expectancy on average for runners as opposed to non runners. So far so good. But wait, it gets even better!
As it turns out, benefits of running were basically the same across all the quintiles in terms of "running time, distance, frequency, amount, and speed". Even participants who ran less than 6 miles or 51 minutes WEEKLY, experienced nearly identical benefits to those in the upper quintiles of participation.
The authors conclude that "Running, even 5 to 10 min/day and at slow speeds <6 miles/h, is associated with markedly reduced risks of death from all causes and cardiovascular disease." Good news indeed for those of us who thought we had to put in hours on the treadmill to get any benefit.
Author: Mark R. Payne DC
Reference: Duck-chul Lee, PhD∗; Russell R. Pate, PhD; Carl J. Lavie, MD; Xuemei Sui, MD, PhD; Timothy S. Church, MD, PhD§; Steven N. Blair, PED Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk∗ Department of Kinesiology, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, Ochsner Clinical School, University of Queensland School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana
Department of Preventive Medicine Research, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, Louisiana Department of Exercise Science and Department of Epidemiology/Biostatistics, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64(5):472-481. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.058
Link To Abstract: