Regular jogging can add up more than six years to male life expectancy and 5.6 years to women's longevity, reveals the latest data from the Copenhagen City Heart Study (CCHS).
According to chief cardiologist of the CCHS, Peter Schnohr, the study's most recent analysis shows that between one to two-and-a-half hours of jogging per week at a "slow or average" pace delivers optimum benefits for longevity.
"We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity. The good news is that you don't actually need to do that much to reap the benefits," said Schnohr, based at Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen.
The debate over jogging first kicked off in the 1970s when middle aged men took an interest in the past-time. "After a few men died while out on a run, various newspapers suggested that jogging might be too strenuous for ordinary middle aged people," recalled Schnohr, according to a university statement.
The CCHS, started in 1976, is a cardiovascular population study of 20,000 men and women aged between 20 and 93 years. Since then the study, which has prompted in publication of over 750 papers, has expanded to include other diseases such as heart failure, pulmonary diseases, allergy, epilepsy, dementia, sleep-apnea and genetics.
For the jogging sub study, the mortality of 1,116 male joggers and 762 female joggers was compared to the non joggers in the main study population. All participants were asked to answer questions about the amount of time they spent jogging each week, and to rate their own perceptions of pace (defined as slow, average, and fast).
The first data was collected between 1976 to 1978, the second from 1981 to 1983, the third from 1991 to 1994, and the fourth from 2001 to 2003.
Results show that in the follow-up period involving a maximum of 35 years, 10,158 deaths were registered among the non-joggers and 122 deaths among the joggers.
Analysis showed that risk of death was reduced by 44 percent for male joggers and 44 percent for female joggers. Besides, the data showed jogging produced an age adjusted survival benefit of 6.2 years in men and 5.6 years in women.
These findings were presented at the The EuroPRevent2012 meeting, in Dublin, Ireland, organised by the European Association for Êrdiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (EACPR).