Does Running Improve Longevity?

Everyone knows the health benefits that running provides. How often do you hear this? "Wah, you've lost so much weight!" and "I started running more."  

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So, besides the ability to lose more weight and to strengthen cardiovascular bodily components, what else can running help you with? How about longevity, will it be able to extend your lifespan? We explore this topic.

How Much is Too Much?

A research published by the Iowa State University suggested that runners could possibly extend their lifespan by an average of three years compared to people who don't run. The good news is that this is a lifestyle goal attainable by even the average Joe. The research also stated that by running modest amounts each week (fewer than 6 miles/10-11 kilometres, or less than 51 minutes), you could receive the same health benefits as those who adhered to the US guideline minimum of 75 minutes each week.

On the contrary, another study by the Cardiovascular Research Institute also found that running too much could lead to shorter lifespans.

The latter is still a cause for debate today. While it has been largely agreed upon that overdoing running would ultimately lead to adverse health effects such as worn out knee cartilages, researchers concluded that due to many indeterminate factors, the threshold of which running becomes too much of a good thing remained unclear. Perhaps the age-old saying that one should always listen to his body would come in handy here?

"Humans weren't meant to do mountain biking or marathon running every day, and you don't have to (in order) to live longer."

Light Jogging

How intense should your running sessions be in order to reap the best health benefits and yes, even longevity? While that itself is a relative definition, researchers from Denmark had come up with the numbers on what they meant as "strenuous", which is anything faster than 7mph (11kmh), according to this report. Keeping below that pace should give you nothing more than a light jog.

For the ideal regime, supporting reports also recommended jogging a few times a week at a moderate pace, nothing too intense. Indeed, Dr. Karol Watson, co-director of preventive cardiology at the University of California was quoted to have said, "Humans weren't meant to do mountain biking or marathon running every day, and you don't have to (in order) to live longer."  So for all you health junkies out there, remember: Running hard-core doesnt necessarily give you the best health benefits.


The mechanics of running remains a mystery, as researchers continue to find a more definite boundary of "healthy" running. Yes, running does improve longevity but only when done correctly. How shall we undertake this seemingly precarious lifestyle?

A helpful advice on the importance of moderation may suffice. This applies not only to health, but to every other critical aspect of our lives such as finance. After all, we'd like to think that our bodies are made of steel able to withstand physical punishment that we inflict on ourselves to "push the boundaries". And often, we are tempted to do so regularly.

However, let's not forget that you and I are just flesh and bones our bodies need to rest. So, as always, listen to it. Your body will thank you for that later on.


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LIV3LY Editor
LIV3LY Editor

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