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Study shows short, daily jogs boost longevity

Ever since I heard Stanford researcher BJ Fogg, PhD, speak at last year's Medicine 2.0 conference about how creating tiny habits can result in lasting lifestyle changes, I've been working on incorporating small goals into my daily life. So I was interested to read an Atlantic article about a study showing that jogging at a "slow or average pace" for 15 minutes a day may increase your lifetime by more than five and a half years

The findings are from a jogging sub study completed as part of the Copenhagen City Heart study, a prospective cardiovascular population study of nearly 20,000 men and women aged 20 - 93 years that began in 1976.

In the study on jogging, researchers compared the mortality of 1,116 male joggers and 762 female joggers to the non-joggers in the main study population. Participants were surveyed about the amount of time they spent jogging each week and rated their own perceptions of pace. The data were collected four times between 1976 and 2003.

From the Atlantic story:

[Researchers] found that an hour to two-and-a-half hours of jogging per week was linked to an increase in life expectancy among men by 6.2 years, and among women by 5.6 years.

Over the course of 35 years, the risk of death fell by 44 percent among joggers of both sexes. And more strenuous activity didn't necessarily result in greater benefits, either.

"The relationship appears much like alcohol intake," said Peter Schnor, chief cardiologist of the Copenhagen City Heart Study. "Mortality is lower in people reporting moderate jogging, than in non-joggers or those undertaking extreme levels of exercise."

Considering how often my daily jogging plans are squashed by a busy schedule, I'm hoping the knowledge that even a little effort can be highly effective combined with Fogg's tiny habits program can reinvigorate my running regimen.

Previously: How physical activity influences health, Exercise may reduce Alzheimer’s risk among those genetically predisposed to the disease and Midlife exercise linked to better aging in women
Photo by Ed Yourdon

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