If a little exercise is good, a lot of exercise must be better, right? Not according to a report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers from Denmark beg to differ.
Their 12-year Copenhagen City Heart Study involved 1098 joggers, and 3950 nonjoggers. Age was taken into consideration. Nine percent were 50 years old or older. The presence of diabetes and heart disease was also taken into account. Smoking and alcohol consumption were also factored in with their findings.
What researchers learned was quite surprising. While getting no exercise didn't lead to health, slow to moderate activity gave participants the lowest mortality risk throughout the study. Yes, as odd as it may seem, these people had a lower risk of dying than people who exercised more.
“Joggers who ran 1 to 2.4 hours per week had the lowest risk of mortality, with a significant 71% lower risk of death than sedentary nonjoggers.”(2)
The researchers also evaluated the effect of the amount of time runners ran each week, frequency of their runs and the pace that they ran, against their risk of mortality.
Individuals who ran less than 1 hour per week had a significantly lower risk of all-cause mortality of 53%. Runners who ran more at 2.5 to 4 hours per a week did not show a greater advantage than those who were sedentary.
In terms of frequency, the optimal amount of jogging was two to three times per week. These joggers had a significantly 68% lower risk of death compared with the healthy sedentary group.
As for pace, slow-paced joggers had a significantly lower risk of death of 49% compared with sedentary nonjoggers. The fastest runners—those who covered more than 7 mph—had the same mortality risk as sedentary nonjoggers.
Researchers determined that higher risk of dying belonged to those at both ends of the spectrum.
Light joggers held the sweet spot, with the greatest benefits, without having to make the most effort. People who were most active had a similar risk of death as those who were most sedentary.
Never heard of such a thing before? Then you missed the reports on the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (ACLS) done in 2012. Turned out that runners who ran less than 20 miles a week had greater benefits than those who ran longer distances.(2)
A 2014 study at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas showed similar results. Researchers took into consideration things like diabetes, hypertension, mental health and weight.
Five to 10 minutes of running every day, brought a runner's risk of dying significantly lower even when they ran slowly, at 30 percent reduced mortality from all causes, and 45 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Life expectancy was increased by three years.(3)
"Moderation in all things" has been proffered as advice for centuries. These study results may now indicate a possible scientific basis for this venerable old saying.
1) When Exercise Does More Harm than Good. Time.com. Retrieved Feb. 4, 2015.
2) Short, Easy—Not Strenuous—Jogging Gives Biggest Survival Gain: Analysis. Medscape.com. Retrieved Feb. 4, 2015.
3) A Little Running Goes a Long Way: Mortality Benefit at Just Six Miles per Week. Medscape.com. Retrieved Feb. 4, 2015.
Visit Jody's website at http://www.ncubator.ca