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Longevity Briefs: Jogging – How Much Is Optimal For Health and Longevity

Posted on 4 May 2021

Longevity briefs provides a short summary of novel research in biology, medicine, or biotechnology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: There is a strong inverse association between jogging and mortality. The Copenhagen City Heart Study reported that the increase in survival among joggers during their follow-up was 6.2 years in men and 5.6 years in women. However, they also found that many of the beneficial effects of jogging were diminished with a higher frequency, duration, and pace of jogging. Exactly how much jogging is optimal in order to derive maximum health benefits?

What did the researchers do: Here, researchers studied a random sample consisting of 1,098 healthy joggers and 3,950 healthy non-joggers who had been prospectively followed since 2001 as part of the Copenhagen City Heart Study. Based on duration, frequency, and pace of jogging, participants were divided into light, moderate, and strenuous joggers, and mortality was analysed and compared with that of non-joggers.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: Light joggers had the lowest mortality rate, followed by moderate joggers, while mortality among strenuous joggers was not significantly different from non-joggers. Jogging 2 to 3 times per week, for a total of 1 to 2.4 hours and at at a speed of under 5mph was associated with the lowest mortality rate. This suggests that there is a U-shaped association between jogging and mortality – light jogging correlates with significant health benefits, but these begin to be eroded at higher levels of exertion. Due to the observational nature of this study, it isn’t possible to say for certain that jogging caused the observed effects on mortality.

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