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Jogging For Health, Longevity

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 11:00 PM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: Living Well, Exercise, Heart Disease, Women's Health, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Aging

The benefits of running extend into old age, researchers find.


IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockphoto/ mature woman running/ ranplett


Most people you see working out in the rain, and heat, and in aerobics classes already know what this study reveals  – that people who engage in consistent aerobic exercise in middle age and later in life tend to live longer and have healthier lives.

This study from Stanford University School of Medicine looked at 539 people who were regular runners.  They were compared to a control group of 423 people, matched by age and profile, except this group never ran.

All involved in the study were over the age of 50.

Every year each volunteer had to fill out a questionnaire from 1985 through 2005, asking about health, weight, levels of disability and of course exercise, which could include aerobic dance, swimming, jogging, running, and biking.

Researchers checked in at eight, 13 and again at the 21-year mark.  Here is what the exercisers reported compared to the non-exercisers.

  • Improved aerobic capacity, better cardiovascular fitness
  • Increased bone density
  • Fewer inflammatory markers
  • Fewer disabilities
  • Improved thinking, learning and memory
  • Longer life -  by year 19 of the study, 15% of runners had died, 34% of non-runners

21 years into the study, the running group reported one disability on average, while never-runners had two disabilities on average and they were more likely to impact daily functioning.

Researcher, Dr. Eliza Chakravarty expected as people aged and cut down on their exercise that the health benefits would narrow, but that didn’t happen.

People in their 70s and 80s who exercised continued to show improved health benefits, even when they just turned to walking.  Even into their 90s, the runners versus the non-runners continued to show different rates of health.

And good news for present day runners- the study did not find any negative impact on joints among runners compared to the more sedentary types, even after looking at x-rays and arthritis rates.

This study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, focused on runners. But Dr. Chakravarty says the benefits can be derived from any vigorous aerobic activity.

Vigorous and consistent exercise has also been linked to less brain shrinkage in people with symptoms of Alzheimer's. The study is released in the journal Neurology

And post-menopausal women involved in a six month exercise regime as part of a study, reported a “striking” improvement in mental health and feelings of well-being. #

1 Comment

Anonymous User
Posted by Kate
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 11:18 AM EST

Americans are getting heavier and heavier and the trend is not good, which is causing major health problems. As you age it’s harder to keep the weight off and running would be a way to accomplish that, at least brisk walking. According to statistics 70% of us will need long term care (guidetolongtermcare.com)- long term care is costly and effects us and those we are close to, which means the longer we can postpone it the better for everyone.

Comments for this article are closed.

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