Saturday, May 12, 2012

Running Adds Life and Smiles, newly proven!

I promise I don't do this often (this is the second time ever on this blog I think), but I have to share an article I read.

Not only does running regularly make you live longer, the study indicates you're happier too!

Since I read The Happiness Project, I've made an effort to do a couple small things to boost my daily happiness (looking for the positive in things, trying not to think about equal sharing of chores at home, and most notably, driving with my convertible top down more frequently).  But as I read the book, I thought a lot about running and its role in my happiness -- exercise, energy-boosting, connection with nature, long process of building toward a goal, seeing new things, meeting new people, and most importantly probably, deeper connections to good friends. 

Anyway, now there's a study to support that runners are happier (well, it doesn't say much about the research on that point, just that there's a correlation) (and actually, there are likely many similar earlier studies, but since I saw this one, I'm sharing). 

I'll just conveniently ignore that part about running in moderation (only 2.5-3 hours per week) being the ideal for preserving longevity.  Wonder what the data said about people who run more like 5-10 hours per week...  I think we're even healthier and even happier!! 

Here's the link to the article, but I'm pasting it below.

Joggers Live Longer, Possibly Happier, Lives

By Peggy Peck, Executive Editor, MedPage Today

Published: May 04, 2012

Reviewed by Dori F. Zaleznik, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

DUBLIN -- For those who diligently lace up their running shoes and brave the elements to jog at least an hour a week, there is a very real reward -- an average of six more years of life, Danish researchers found.

Jogging was associated with a 44% reduction in the relative risk of death over 35 years compared with deaths among non-joggers, according to Peter Schnohr, MD, chief cardiologist from the Copenhagen City Heart Study.

And the benefit was observed for both men and women.

That reduction translated into an "age-adjusted survival benefit of 6.2 years in men and 5.6 years in women," Schnohr reported here at EuroPRevent 2012.

And that longer life is often a happier life, he said, since joggers reported an overall sense of well-being.

"This is definitely good news, especially for those who have questioned whether simply jogging could be beneficial," said Ian Graham, MD, of Dublin's Trinity College, who co-chaired the program committee for the meeting.

"The results of our research allow us to definitively answer the question of whether jogging is good for your health," Schnohr said in a prepared statement. "We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity. The good news is that you don't actually need to do that much to reap the benefits."

Moreover, even elderly people can add years to life by jogging. "A 70-year-old will benefit and I think the benefit may be even greater for older people," Schnohr said in an interview.

In this analysis the optimum benefit was realized for those who jogged at a slow-to-average pace between an hour and two and half hours done in two to three sessions over the course of a week.

The key, Schnohr said, appears to be moderation, much like the benefit observed with alcohol.

The jogging benefit is just the latest in a long list of studies from Schnohr and colleagues -- more than 750 papers -- mined from the 19,329 participants in the Copenhagen City Heart Study, which is a prospective cardiovascular population study begun in 1976.

When the study began, participants ranged in age from 20 to 79.

All participants underwent examinations over 2-year time frames beginning in 1976, 1981, 1991, and finally in 2001. In addition to assessments of cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose, and BMI, patients were also asked about smoking, alcohol consumption, education, and income.

The 1,878 participants in the jogging substudy (1,116 men) were also asked about jogging frequency and pace.

The researchers tracked the data using a personal identification number in the Danish Central Register. The authors compared deaths in joggers to deaths among non-joggers from the main study cohort.

During 35 years of follow-up there were 122 deaths among joggers versus 10,158 deaths among non-joggers.

1 comment:

  1. This is very good news. I am definitely a much happier person since running became a regular part of my life.

    I work on a locked psychiatric unit and one thing that I find extremely frustrating about the environment is the lack of opportunity for the patients to exercise and get fresh air. While the activity may not cure all that ails them I do believe it would aid in relieving some of the depression, anxiety and stress that many of the patients are dealing with.