Can Running Actually Extend Your Life?

Can Running Actually Extend Your Life?

By now, all of you are well aware of different benefits that exercise has to offer. One of these benefits includes the prolongation of life. So, what is that particular exercise that may help you live an extended life?

As per a recent research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, running can easily add up to three years into your lifespan.

That is right- running can actually extend your life, even if you run for as little as five minutes on a daily basis. What is even more amazing is the fact that the subjects in different studies who ran outlived the non-runners, even if they were obese, addicted or ran sporadically.

How is this possible?

Running can extend your life

Running and Telomeres

Running offers a lot of benefits to your health. It can manage high blood pressure, fight obesity and keep coronary heart disease at bay. Additionally, running has also been found to lengthen the telomeres– the segments of your DNA present at the end of the chromosomes that are in control of aging.

One of the largest research on telomeres by far has shed light on the effect of these telomeres on the health of a person. Researchers collected data from saliva samples and the medical records. More than a 100, 000 participants were involved in the study and it was concluded that people with telomeres having shorter-than-average lengths suffered from an increased mortality, even if they managed different lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption, smoking, and education.

The study indicated that people having the shortest telomeres, which formed about 10 percent of the total participants, were 23 percent more susceptible to death within the next three years as compared to the ones with longer telomeres.

While the researchers are not quite sure how the length of telomeres affects the process of aging, it has become quite clear that longer length of telomeres is somehow better for human survival. Running is one particular exercise that can increase this factor.

Running: An Exercise that Extends Your Life

Running is thought to decrease the risk of premature death by the factor of 40 percent, even if you have a history of other health issues such as hypertension, smoking, or obesity.

It has also been concluded that if the non-runners begin running, their chances of dying and suffering from fatal heart attacks drop by the factors of 16 and 25 percent, respectively.

You might wonder how you can adopt running as an exercise to extend your life, or how many miles should you run every week.

The researchers have estimated that hour after hour, running can statistically return more time to people than it actually consumes. Running two hours per week is regarded as a good amount of running to prolong life.

It has been calculated that a runner is likely to spend less than six months in running over the course of 40 years. Yet, he is likely to increase his life by 3.2 years, with a net gain of 2.8 years. Running for as little as five minutes every day is said to benefit you. It has a life-extending power of almost four that plateaus at running for four hours on a weekly basis.

Running can extend your life

However, there is absolutely no harm in running for more than four hours every week. There is no harm in running more as long as you are giving yourself time to recover and rest, especially between the workout sessions.

The reasons behind all these facts about running and extension of life are not clear yet, but this does not mean that running can necessarily increase the life expectancy. According to some researchers, this effect is because running can combat different health issues, such as obesity and high blood pressure, this helps to improve the overall health and boost the longevity.

In fact, running is not the sole exercise that can extend your life. Cycling, walking, and other exercises have also been found to decrease the risk of mortality by 12 percent. Running is, however, the most effective of them all.

Running Tips

Running has clearly been regarded as an exercise that can extend your life expectancy. However, you certainly would not like to live in pain by running excessively.

RELATED: Research Reveals How Much Do You Need To Run

For this purpose, you need to know how you can run properly and be light on your feet. As per a research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the following directions are to be followed while running:

  • Try landing lose to the midfoot, especially if you consider yourself as a heel striker. Most of the runners can land more lightly if they do not lead with their heels.
  • Observe a little increase in cadence- the number of steps that you are taking every minute. This can reduce the pounding in
  • Remain lighter on your feet. You can accomplish this by pretending to run on eggshells or on water.
  • Do not overstride. This places a huge effect as well as a shock wave that can travel up to your body. Moreover, it can decelerate your body and you would eventually have to work harder to maintain your stride.
  • Increase the rate of your stride. A high stride rate can keep it short and make your bounce springy.
  • Maintaining an upright posture is essential. Leaning forward puts a huge angular torque, especially on the upper body. This causes your body to fall forward by placing more stress on the lower body.
  • Do not effort by making your upper body tensed.
  • Running can extend your life

Keep these beginners tips for running in mind, especially if you wish to extend your life by several years.

  • Warm up
  • Make a goal and run steadily
  • Adopt burst training
  • Go for the appropriate pre- and post-run fuel
  • Cross-train
  • Keep an eye on your body
  • Pick the right shoes
  • stretch

Other Exercises that Help You Live Longer

Running is not the only way of increasing your lifespan. As mentioned earlier, walking, cycling, and other exercises such as high-intensity interval training and weight training can also be adopted for the same purpose.

RELATED: Association Between Mental Health And Exercise: Research Findings

A study published in a journal named Cell Metabolism observed 72 healthy individuals with a sedentary lifestyle, each of which was either younger than 30 or older than 64 years of age. Four different exercise group were formed with activities such as stationary bike riding, light weight training, and extensive weight training.

The researchers noted the following things:

  • The high-intensity interval training caused a significant improvement in the mitochondrial decline due to age.
  • Training adaptations occurred in people along with an increase in ribosome proteins and gene transcripts.
  • Protein synthesis and ribosomal abundance were enhanced
  • The changes occurring in the RNA due to training did not overlap with the parallel protein abundance.

Running can extend your life

What do these findings indicate?

These indicate that the decline seen in the cells of the muscles due to aging can be corrected by exercise, especially with intense forms. In fact, the muscle cells of the older people responded more to intense exercises as compared to those of the young ones. This suggests that it is never too late to start gaining benefits from exercising.

High-intensity workouts and weight training in addition to running can delay the aging of muscles and prolong life by several years.

Nancy holds a Pharmacy degree from University of Michigan and Masters of Science MS in Infectious Disease and Global Health (MS-IDGH) from Tufts University. She worked as a lecturer for three years before she turned towards medical writing. Her area of interest are infectious diseases; causes, mechanism, diagnosis, treatments and prevention strategies. Most of her writings ensure an easy understanding of uncommon diseases.

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