Here's why people who run live a longer than those who don't | 6/13/2017, 10:46 a.m.
New research, published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, reports that “a single hour of running can add seven ...

Is running the “best exercise” for a longer life? While hitting, the pavement has been shown to lower a person’s risk for heart disease and cancer, regulate weight and possibly blood pressure. New research, published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, reports that “a single hour of running can add seven hours to a person’s life.”

Per the study, which was conducted over the course of three years, investigated whether other forms of exercise like walking and biking provide the same benefits as running. Scientists and cardiologists from five U.S. universities gathered data from studies of more than 55,000 ­people on health and premature death. “We found runners showed bigger significant reductions in mortality than people that are active in other types of exercise,” said Duck-chul Lee, an assistant professor at Iowa State University and the paper’s lead author.

The findings revealed that individuals who ran and did other forms of exercise lowered their risk of premature death by 43 percent. Runners who didn’t participate in any other type of exercise lowered their risk by 30 percent. Researchers found that people who did others forms of exercise but not running lowered their risk by 12 percent.

While other types of exercise like walking and cycling were linked to lengthening a person’s life, research showed it wasn’t as beneficial as running. In fact, study authors calculated that a one-hour run may translate to an additional seven hours added to a person’s life. However, it’s important to note that the benefits capped off at about three years, discovering that improvements in life expectancy leveled out at about four hours of running per week. In short, while more running wasn’t found to be significantly worse for people, there were also no further benefits.

Of course, to get the most bang out of your run, researchers suggest that, “runners tend to have other healthy lifestyle behaviors like maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and only drinking low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol.” Still, running is an especially effective form of exercise, authors said.

But, the benefits didn’t stop there. Runners who also do other types of physical activity have the same lower risk of early death, though combining running with other exercise is “the best choice,” researchers say. While some activity is certainly better than none, federal guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week, for optimal health.

Study authors also acknowledged that it’s not yet clear how much running is safe, or if a person can run too much. “Running may have the most public health benefits, but is not the best exercise for everyone since orthopedic or other medical conditions can restrict its use by many individuals,” the study concluded.