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Researchers find new health benefits of jogging

Researchers find new health benefits of jogging, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC). Short jogs can help in lowering the risk of heart disease according to this large observational study performed by the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University in Ames. Researchers found that people are likely to reduce their risk of dying from heart disease if they occasionally run; and they do not have to run far or fast.

Recreational joggers enjoy the sport in Marina del Rey, California.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Researchers find new health benefits of jogging

The results of this new study were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology by lead author Duck-chul Lee. Researchers studied over 55,000 predominately-healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 100. Participants of the study answered questions pertaining to their physical activity and lifestyle over a period of three months.

Questions consisted of how frequent, fast, and how long they jogged. The participants were sectioned off into five groups based on how often they jogged each week. One group comprised of people who did not run at all.

Researchers used the participant’s medical records and tracked them for about 15 years. Researcher found that 3,400 subjects of the study died. Close to 1,200 deaths were due to cardiovascular causes, which included stroke and heart disease.

In addition to the deaths that occurred, the study published the results indicating that those who ran for less than six miles each week, and those who jogged at a pace less than six miles per hour, or ran less than 51 minutes every week, had a reduction in death.

Jogging and heart health

Lowering the risk of heart disease takes more than jogging. This recent study cannot definitively conclude that merely running short distances for short durations will reduce the risk of heart disease without taking into consideration other factors that help to lower the risk, such as diet, genetics, and smoking. Nonetheless, researchers of this latest study find new health benefits of jogging, in that, on average, a runner’s life expectancy was three years longer than those who did not run, regardless of their age, sex, weight, or whether they were smokers.

When compared to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended guidelines that people should engage in vigorous activity like running at least 75 minutes a week, researchers of this study found that people running 30 to 60 minutes each week added longevity to their life.

It is important to note Andrea Chomistek’s recommendations from the School of Public Health at Indiana University Bloomington. She advises the following, “As far as recommending that people go for short jogs every day, I do think this is something we could recommend, although with a couple caveats. For individuals who are currently inactive, they should probably start with walking and ease into running. For inactive individuals who are older or have medical issues, they may want to check in with their physician before starting a running program, although walking is just fine.”

Worldwide, physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for death. Active individuals lower their rate of diabetes, colon and breast cancer, depression, high blood pressure, stroke, and coronary heart disease. They also improve their bone, muscular and cardio-respiratory health, and fitness. Physically activity can also help people maintain their weight.

This new research on the health benefits of jogging is inspiring. Currently, it is the largest study to date pertaining to this topic. Even though they take a long time to track, randomized control trials on the effects of jogging and running on cholesterol levels and blood pressure can be expected in the future.