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May 21, 2012. I know nobody’s getting out of here alive. Not even me. So my reason for exercising has always been modest: to have enough flexibility, strength, balance and stamina to do things I like to do. And to do them with ease and comfort.

So I was pleasantly surprised to read the most recent report from the ongoing, long-term Copenhagen City Heart Study. Its headline:

Regular jogging shows dramatic increase in life expectancy
I thought you’d want to know.

How dramatic? Six years of extra life. 6.2 more for men who jog; 5.6 more for women who jog. Compared to men and women who don’t jog.

How regular? Between 1 and 2.5 hours per week.

How fast? Slower, actually. The participants who reported their pace to be “slow” or “moderate” show the greatest increase in longevity.

Before you go buy new running shoes
Even if your doctor says you’re good to go, you might have to get in jogging shape before you start jogging. You know, walk before you run. To improve joint strength and flexibility. You might want to lose weight to avoid overloading your joints. In any case, warm up before you jog. Stretch immediately after.

I’ve been jogging or running for nearly 40 years. Three or four times a week. Three miles or so each time. I do it because it makes me feel good. And I think it contributes to my continuing ability to take 12-mile Walks through great cities. 15-mile Hikes through beautiful landscapes. If I’m going to be around for an extra six years, I Better stay healthy.

Treadmill Trails: Don’t Just Run In Place
Run In Great Places

Get it on Google Play

The Copenhagen City Heart Study began to collect health and activity data for 20,000 men and women in the 1970s. It’s been following up with them once a decade and releasing many interim reports. The most recent was delivered at this month’s meeting of the European Society of Cardiology. Read the summary in their journal.

It’s got a link to an interview with the lead researcher, Dr. Peter Schnohr. Here’s what he says about jogging Slower: “Mortality is lower in people reporting moderate jogging, than in non-joggers or those undertaking extreme levels of exercise … You should aim to feel a little breathless, but not very breathless”.

The full report hasn’t been published yet. If you’d like to see the last one (from 2006), click here.

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