What’s the best way to get exercise? Ask a bunch of people and the answers will likely vary — everything from swimming, to weight-lifting, to running. Now, for most people, a pool isn’t easily accessible, and swimming requires years to perfect the technique. With weight-lifting, you need a gym membership and almost always a personal trainer to teach you how to not injure yourself.
So what about running? With running, you can skip the gym membership — since it can be done almost anywhere — and there’s no need to develop any sort of technique to see immediate results. It’s running. That thing you’ve been doing since you were old enough to outpace your mom, and all it requires is a good pair of running shoes.
Seems like we have a winner. And according to recent studies, researchers may be able to finally prove it.
A new study revealed that an hour of running may increase your lifespan by 7 hours. Unfortunately no, this doesn’t mean the answer to immortality has finally been found, as researchers capped the benefits at around 3 years. And for those who are worried about reaching a high mileage or amount of time in which there may be consequences to over-running, the results also showed that overperforming, like in marathons, did not return any negative impacts on longevity.
Hold on, you’re probably thinking, aren’t all exercises supposed to help with increasing my lifespan?
Yes, they are. That said, if you don’t have a lot of time to spend working out, running may be the absolute best exercise you could choose. The study found that cycling, and other activities that required the same sort of exertion as running, only dropped the risk of a premature death by about 12 percent, versus the almost 40 percent found for running.
Researchers couldn’t prove why running showed an increased risk of a premature death than other exercises, or that running directly caused longer lifespans. But what the results were able to prove is that runners tend to live longer than people who don’t run. And longer lifespans were even seen in runners when controlled for smoking or obesity. The connection seen between runners and longer lifespans could be that they also happen to be people who follow healthy lifestyle habits – exercising regularly, reaching for fruits and vegetables over foods high in cholesterol and low in nutrition, and so forth.
Not a huge fan of running, though? The good news is that even if you run a few minutes every day, you can see a steep curve in benefits for your health. And even better news? Regardless of what exercise you do and how long you do it, sticking with exercise as a daily habit will have a very long list of health benefits, like lowering blood pressure, stress, cholesterol, and more. Longevity is just a (life) bonus.
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