Can Running Lengthen Your Lifespan?
The good news is that it just might! According to a new study that monitored people’s health conditions for 15 years, people who ran regularly had an average life expectancy of 3 years longer than non-runners.
Even more good news: the study showed that you don’t even have to run that far or that often to gain health benefits. In fact, running for less than 51 minutes a week still corresponded with healthy improvements including lowered risk of death from heart disease.
As proponents of better health and longer lives in the Buffalo area, this gets us pretty excited, and we hope it can inspire more Western New Yorkers to get out and start a healthy exercise program. Here are some easy tips to keep in mind if you want to incorporate more running and cardio training into your schedule and get the most out of exercising.
Already an avid runner? Then maybe these tips are a little basic for you, but check out our STRIDES program – Striving To Reduce Injuries During Endurance Sports.
Start With Walking
If you’re not currently an active runner, you might be subjecting yourself to a higher risk of injury if you jump right into an intense workout without working your way up. Walking the same distance you’d like to run can be a good starting point, and it’ll still provide some of the same health benefits as running.
Getting warmed up and stretching your muscles before starting a longer run is always a good practice to follow. Running hard on cold muscles can leave you open to injuries and muscle pulls, which will certainly slow you down. To maximize your running results, warm up and cool down with a stretching routine before and after you run.
Running and cardio exercise can be demanding on your body, especially on hot summer days. If you don’t hydrate carefully, you could have your runs cut short by muscle cramping and heat-related illness, so be sure to drink up before you head out.
The study we mentioned at the beginning of the article did suggest that runners may live longer lives, but the researchers also admitted that runners are usually healthy people in general, which could skew the results. By eating right and cutting junk food out of your diet, you’ll live an overall healthier life and see better results from your workout efforts.
The reasons to stay active just keep piling up! If you don’t already include regular cardio exercise in your weekly routine, we highly recommend it.
Photo credit: Chris Hunkeler