Running keeps you young

Regular running slows the effects of ageing according to a new study…

We have known for a while now that exercise has been shown to improve many health outcomes and the well being of people of all ages. I know that I am fitter this year than I was last year and every year seems to follow this same pattern. I started slowly, walking of course with a few metres of running. This slowly increased from metres to minutes, then the minutes led to solid jogging then running. After a while, someone suggested a fun run and I looked at them bewildered. How could they put those two words in the same sentence? Needless to say, I tried one and never looked back….

But don’t take my word for it, see what the experts have to say on the matter:

According to a study published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine,  running and other vigorous exercise in middle age is associated with longer life. There was also a stronger correlation between continued mobility and running well into the runners nineties compared to the non runners. Runners were younger, leaner and less likely to smoke.

When Professor James Fries and his team began this research in 1984, many scientists thought vigorous exercise would do more harm than good for people in their age group.

Professor Fries team began tracking 538 runners over age 50, comparing them to a similar group of non runners. The subjects, now in their 70s and 80s, have answered yearly questionnaires about their ability to perform everyday activities such as walking, dressing and grooming, getting out of a chair and gripping objects. Nineteen years into the study, 34 percent of the non runners had died, compared to only 15 percent of the runners.

The effect of running on delaying death has also been more dramatic than the scientists expected. Not surprisingly, running has slowed cardiovascular deaths but has also been associated with fewer early deaths from cancer, neurological disease, infections and other causes.

“The study has a very pro-exercise message,” said James Fries, MD, an emeritus professor of medicine at the medical school and the study’s senior author. “If you had to pick one thing to make people healthier as they age, it would be aerobic exercise.”

So, the message is loud and clear: To ward of lack of mobility and live a long and healthy life, put those sneakers on and head outside. The power is in your hands!

About Christine Kambourakis

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