Slow, steady jogging could help prolong life

By Doug Bennett • Published: May 28th, 2015
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Joggers, slow down and cut back on the mileage. You just might live longer.

That’s the finding of a study published recently in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

But how much jogging is too much? That’s the question that researchers from the University of Copenhagen set out to answer. They wanted to build on a 2012 study of cyclists in Denmark, which found those who rode hard outlived the people who rode gently.

So they went back to a large database of health habits that was launched in Copenhagen about 15 years ago. This time, they opted to study data about jogging because it’s the most popular form of exercise around the world. Data for nearly eleven-hundred joggers was compared to information about 4,000 people who did not exercise.

After examining death records, the researchers found one fact that wasn’t so surprising: The study participants who jogged outlived the people who did not exercise.

But, surprisingly, other findings showed that intense jogging doesn’t prolong life, and may actually produce less of a health benefit than light or moderate exercise. Jogging slowly in moderate amounts — between one and two-and-a-half hours a week — was the ideal amount of exercise for longevity.

And the researchers say being slow is not a bad thing after all. They found that the fastest, most frequent joggers did not outlive those who plodded along. In fact, the fastest, most frequent joggers did not even outlive those who didn’t exercise.

Researchers did not study how the joggers and non-joggers died, so it’s unclear if hard exercise produced negative effects on the body.

So when it comes to jogging, less really can be more. Sometimes, it’s OK to be the tortoise instead of the hare.