Running Can Slow Aging Process

Posted on August 12, 2008

The BBC reports on a study that found that running can help slow the aging process. 500 runners in their 50s were tracked for more than 20 years and comparing to a similar group of non-runners. 19 years later 34% of the non-runners had died compared to only 15% of the runners.

Running not only appeared to slow the rate of heart and artery related deaths, but was also associated with fewer early deaths from cancer, neurological disease, infections and other causes.

And there was no evidence that runners were more likely to suffer osteoarthritis or need total knee replacements than non-runners - something scientists have feared.

At the beginning of the study, the runners ran for about four hours a week on average. After 21 years, their weekly running time had reduced to around 76 minutes, but they were still seeing health benefits from taking regular exercise.

Lead author Professor James Fries, emeritus professor of medicine at Stanford, said: "The study has a very pro-exercise message. If you had to pick one thing to make people healthier as they age, it would be aerobic exercise.

"The health benefits of exercise are greater than we thought."

Experts believe that that some of the benefits of exercises like running, in addition to a healthier heart and weight control, include reduced stress and better sleep.

More from Science Space & Robots