Lifestyle & Belief

Jogging increases life expectancy by six years, researchers say


A man jogs along the sand at Bondi Beach on December 25, 2011 in Sydney, Australia.


Don Arnold

Good news for people who don't like to run fast: a light, easy jog might be enough to help you live younger. In fact, researchers think that jogging is even more beneficial than running at a faster pace.

The team working on the Copenhagen City Heart Study, a massive, long-term study of heart health, were trying to determine whether or not the benefits of jogging outweigh some of its risks, Science Daily reported. The analysis ruled in jogging's favor. It showed that as little as one hour of jogging per week at a "slow or average" pace actually delivered this best results for longevity. Peter Schnohr, the chief cardiologist on the heart study project, presented the findings at a European Society of Cardiology meeting in Dublin.

More from GlobalPost: Promises, pitfalls await investors in Burma’s frontier

"The good news is that you don't actually need to do that much to reap the benefits," Schnohr said, according to the Daily Telegraph

The jogging analysis, a sub-study in the Heart Study, looked at 1,116 male joggers and 762 female joggers. The joggers' life expectancies were compared to non-joggers in the main study population, the Telegraph reported. Male joggers lived, on average, an extra 6.2 years and female joggers lived an extra 5.6 years. The researchers put the ideal amount of jogging per week from one hour to two-and-a-half hours.

"You should aim to feel a little breathless, but not very breathless," Schnohr said, according to HealthDay

The debate over whether or not jogging is a healthy activity goes back to the 1970s, when middle aged men became interested in the trend. Several of the middle aged joggers died, sparking concerns that jogging was unsafe for this age group, Science Daily reported. But the researchers of the most recent study say that those earlier concerns were overblown.