Running May Help You Live Longer and Healthier

Posted by SoundHealth on Thursday, December, 18 2008 and filed under Fitness
Key topics: Running

Running may not only help you to live longer, but also live free of health problems and disabilities, and it is never too late to start running, a new study has found.

The study, carried out by Stanford University School of medicine, studied the benefits of running on people 50 and older, consisting of a group of runners and non-runners that were monitored over two decades. Based on the study, if you aren't running already you may want to start.

Running helped to widen the gap between the abilities of those in the running group and the non-running group, researchers found. The initial onset of disabilities were seen 16 years later in the runners, than seen in the non-runners group.

After nineteen years into the study, when most participants would have been in their 70's, the national death records indicated that only 15 percent of the runners had passed away, but 34 percent of the non-runners had passed away. Also, even though their time spent running had decreased drastically in later life, researchers were still seeing the benefits from running earlier.

The study's senior author James Fries, M.D., stated "The study has a very pro-exercise message. If you had to pick one thing to make people healthier as they age, it would be aerobic exercise."

The study not only determined that exercise decreased disabilities as we grow older, but running also reduced deaths caused from cardiovascular problems. Regular running also decreased early deaths from cancer, heart disease, and even Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases, the study found.

Though some feel running may cause stress on joints and muscles, based on the recent study this is not the case. Try to run, but if you are physically unable to run, try to incorporate some form of aerobic exercise in your daily activities and you may feel better and live a longer healthier life.

Some running Tips for Beginners

  • Wear comfortable clothing and invest in a good pair of trainers; your body has to absorb up to three times its weight each time you land on your feet so the greater the shock-absorbency of your shoes, the less strain is placed on the joints.

  • A good warm up and cool down during every running session is essential. A good warm up will prepare you physically for your run and reduce the risk of injury. Each warm up should last between 5 and 10 minutes and should involve light jogging and stretching exercises. A few minutes at the end of a running session should be spent cooling down; this should include a brisk walk and stretching muscles again. The purpose of the cool down is to gradually return your heart rate to resting level and stretch your muscles to reduce tightness and soreness the following day.

  • Gradually ease you way into a running plan, starting off with gentle jogging interspersed with brisk walking for about 20 minutes. Once this pace has become comfortable, this can be increased to lengthened blocks of continuous jogging over time.

  • Run at whatever speed feels comfortable and keep well hydrated throughout the running session.

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