Everyone now knows that exercise has many benefits, and one of those benefits is the ability to prolong life. This is true even for people who are already 60 or 70 years old.
In fact, a recent study published in the journal JAMA Network Open found that women 65 and older who met recommendations of at least 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise and at least two days of strength training per week had a lower risk of all-cause mortality than others.
What is the specific exercise that helps you live longer? According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, running can extend your life for up to three years. It’s true: running prolongs life, even if you only run five minutes a day. More remarkably, study subjects who ran lived about three years longer than non-runners, even if they were overweight, drank, smoked, or ran slowly or sporadically.
How is it possible ? Good question.
What exactly did the researchers find when reviewing this study?
Running reduces the risk of premature death by almost 40%, even taking into account a history of health problems such as obesity or hypertension, smoking and alcohol consumption.
By extrapolating this data, the researchers concluded that if the non-runners in the study took up running, there would be 16% fewer deaths and 25% fewer fatal heart attacks.
You might be wondering, in order for running to be an exercise that helps you live longer, how many miles a week should I run? This is what is fascinating:
Perhaps most interestingly, the researchers calculated that, hour by hour, running statistically returns more time to people’s lives than it consumes. Counting two hours of training per week, as that is the average reported by runners in the Cooper Institute study, the researchers estimated that a typical runner would spend less than six months actually running over a period of nearly 40 years, but that he could expect an increase in life expectancy of 3.2 years, a net gain of about 2.8 years.
Running for just five minutes a day has beneficial effects on longevity, with the life-extending power reaching a plateau at around four hours of running per week. However, running for more than four hours per week did not show any negative effects, only a plateau, which means that there is no harm in long running, provided you give yourself enough break time. recovery and rest between workouts.
The reasons for these results are not yet clear, and it does not mean that running necessarily leads to increased longevity. Running is more likely because it helps fight many health issues, such as high blood pressure and excess weight, improves overall health, which in turn promotes longevity . In fact, running isn’t the only exercise that helps you live longer. Walking, cycling and other exercises have also been shown to reduce mortality risk by around 12%. But it is running that seems to be the most effective exercise for living longer.
Running and telomeres
In addition to fighting hypertension, obesity, coronary heart disease and more, running appears to lengthen telomeres, segments of DNA at the end of our chromosomes that control aging.
One of the largest telomere studies to date has provided insight into the effect of telomeres on a person’s health. The researchers collected saliva samples and medical records from more than 100,000 participants. Their findings showed that shorter than average telomere length was associated with an increased risk of death, even after adjusting for lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption and education, which are related to telomere length.
The study found that people with the shortest telomeres, about 10% of study participants, were 23% more likely to die within three years than those with longer telomeres. Although science is not yet 100% sure how telomere length affects our aging, it is clear that the longer our telomeres, the better. Luckily, it turns out that running helps lengthen telomeres. A study published in the New York Times on how exercise keeps cells young found that middle-aged adults who jogged intensively (45 to 50 miles per week) had damaged telomeres. average 75% longer than their sedentary counterparts.
Tips for running
While running is clearly an exercise that helps you live longer, you don’t want to live in pain either. This means learning to run properly and being light on your feet.
According to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and advice from Harvard researchers, take the following pointers to heart when running:
– Try to land closer to the midfoot if you are a hooker. Most runners naturally land lighter when not heel leading.
– Slightly increase your pace, ie the number of steps you take per minute. This seems to reduce the pounding of each stride.
– Imagine running on eggshells or trying to “run on water”, so to speak, trying to stay light on your feet.
– Don’t overdo it. This causes a big impact and a shock wave that travels up your body. It also causes the body to decelerate, causing you to work harder to maintain your stride.
– If you focus too much on the forefoot strike, you risk over-striding and causing more stress. Conversely, as we noted, heel striking is bad. So focus on a flat strike, in the middle of the foot. A very strong forefoot or rearfoot strike is bad.
– Increase the cadence of your strides. A high stride cadence allows your stride to be short and your rebound to be springy.
– Upright posture is important. If you lean forward, your upper body experiences significant angular torque, causing your body to tend to fall forward, increasing the pressure on your lower body.
– Be relaxed. Don’t waste your efforts contracting your upper body.
Also, keep these running tips for beginners in mind, if you want to get into this exercise that helps you live longer:
Set a goal and run regularly
Incorporate burst training
Take the right fuel before and after the race
Choose the right shoes
Pay attention to surfaces
Listen to your body
Other Exercises That Help You Live Longer
Running isn’t the only exercise that helps you live longer. As mentioned, walking, cycling, and other exercises can also prolong life, as well as strength training and high-intensity interval training. A 2017 study published in Cell Metabolism examined 72 healthy but sedentary men and women, aged 30 or younger or over 64, for 12 weeks. Participants were assigned to one of four exercise groups. The control group did not exercise. One group rode stationary bikes for 30 minutes a few times a week and did light weight training on other days; another group did heavy weight training several times a week; and the final group participated in brief interval training on a stationary bike three times a week, resting three days, then starting again.
Here’s what the researchers found:
High-intensity interval training improved age-related muscle mitochondrial decline.
Training adaptations resulted in increased gene transcripts and ribosome proteins.
Changes in RNA with training overlapped little with corresponding protein abundance.
The increased abundance of ribosomes and protein synthesis explains the gains in mitochondria.
What does that mean ?
It appears that the decline in muscle cellular health associated with aging is “corrected” by exercise, especially if it is intense. In fact, cells from older people responded somewhat more vigorously to intense exercise than cells from younger people. Which suggests that it’s never too late to benefit from exercise. This shows that HIIT workouts and strength training can help delay muscle aging, which also makes them supportive of longevity.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, running can extend your life for up to three years. Running reduces the risk of premature death by almost 40%, even taking into account a history of health problems such as obesity or hypertension, smoking and alcohol consumption. The researchers estimated that a typical runner would spend less than six months running over a period of almost 40 years, but could expect an increase in life expectancy of 3.2 years, a net gain of about 2.8 years.
This could be because running helps fight conditions that increase mortality risk, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease, and also appears to lengthen telomeres. , segments of DNA located at the end of our chromosomes that control aging. The researchers note that running does not directly cause an increase in longevity, but runners seem to live longer, in part for the reasons mentioned above. Other exercises that help you live longer include walking, cycling, weight training, and HIIT workouts, among others.